The global phenomenon of Crossfit has reached leafy Surrey with an unusal box (the name given to a Crossfit gym) being built an unlikely recycled space. The owners of this box are Crossfit 2012, established in 2012 by Matthew Lawrence and Elizabeth Fisher. This young, determined and down to earth professional fitness couple are passionate about spreading the Crossfit ‘Fitness For All’ ethos across their local community.
Outgrowing their original box at Kingston University, Crossfit 2012 have received a warm welcome at their new location in Imber Court, East Molesey. Crossfit 2012 are temporarily hosting the box from a large marquee close to the spot where their innovative box will be developed.
Almost five years ago renting a small studio space by the hour in Kingston, the couple were delighted to get their Crossfit dream off the ground. Word spread and the box grew organically through word of mouth. Over the course of a further two years their following continued to grow and the dream of owning their own space started to look like a reality. However, it wasn’t easy to find a suitable location as Matthew explained;
“We found a couple of amazing spaces, but always got stuck at the planning permission hurdle, until now. Imber Court have been nothing but amazing in supporting our vision and goals. The relationship has been great from the get go and they have made us feel extremely welcome.”
CrossFit 2012 have worked with Fletcher Crane Architects to develop a permanent box within the existing rugby stand at Imber Court. The unique stadium structure will be enclosed to house a new training space surrounded by green fields. Architect Toby Fletcher describes this unusual build;
“The underside of the concrete stepped seating in the stadium stand will remain exposed; the existing low level steel cross beams are simply filled with a solid floor; and the open northern aspect, enclosed with solid panels at low level with a slot of high level translucent panels for northern light and ventilation, bringing natural light to whole space.
This creates a dynamic form, with volume and height in the centre of the space for typical cross fit activities of rope climbs, gymnastic rings and muscle ups, with the lower sections for storage and equipment. The two gable ends will have a mixture of translucent panels and glazing providing picture windows of the landscape beyond, and giving access to terraces at either end under the last bays of the stand, providing a space for sheltered outdoor activity or relaxing.
The internal volume created will generally remain open to the structure creating an industrial feel, while allowing for running lengths, and connectivity between training spaces. Auxiliary facilities, such as changing areas/WC’s, touch down space, and tea/juice bars are located centrally within the main extruded space adjacent to the main entrance. The rhythm of the structural gird, the composition of the angled beams, concrete stepped ceiling and naturally lit northern-sloped facade make it an ideal space and environment for training.
What’s most exciting about this build is that both the space and materials have to be functional. On many projects we deliver, we strive to convince clients to strip back finishes and materials to purely form a function. This project absolutely warrants the use of robust materials, without a need for additional finishes and embellishment. The industrial trend of striped back finishes, and exposed services suits this project. The exposed steel frame will provide rhythm to the space, and the bays will naturally articulate different spaces for activities. “
The development is expected to start early Summer 2017 is likely to take approximately eight weeks. Crossfit 2012 aim to not only train athletes in the new space but also host an array of Crossfit competitions; both Inter Box, Regionals and Nationals. Matthew and Elizabeth are passionate about family fitness (with their young baby Jackson growing up at the box) and their vision for the new space means they will continue to offer adult classes as well as kids classes, teen camps and rehabilitation physiotherapy for all ages. You already see a variety of ages at the box in it’s temporary home and the new box will be an integral part of the community where people of all ages can get strong and fit together.
Anyone who kindly donates to "Building our Box" will be commemorated in our new space . We plan to have a plaque hung in the box detailing the names of all who have helped us make our dream possible, however large or small the donation.
To find out more about this exciting project and document this unusual build please contact Crossfit 2012 directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org