Mapei systems have been installed for the construction of a swimming pool at the American School in St John’s Wood, London. Complete waterproofing and ceramic tiling solutions were installed over a nine month period to areas in the pool tank and changing room interiors and exteriors.
The American School in London was founded in 1951 and currently educates 1,350 pupils. The new swimming pool is part of a £10 million development comprising underground sports centre with fitness studio, multi-purpose room, and changing facilities; along with a 25 metre swimming pool where Mapei’s involvement in the project was contracted. As the 1,430 sq.metre sports centre is below ground level, curved changing rooms with brightly tiled walls reflect the available light, while voids allow natural light to flood the space.
The project was completed while the school remained open, which meant materials had to be installed quickly and with as little disruption as possible, without compromising on quality. EP Ceramics installed Mapei’s Planitop Fast 330, a quick-setting, fibre reinforced cementitious mortar to smooth out surface irregularities for the pool walls. The base of the pool was then formed using Mapei Topcem, a hydraulic binder mixed with sand and bonded using Mapei Planicrete; this formed screed allows fast track installation of subsequent materials. Once the pool tank had been formed the Mapei Mapelastic was applied. The Mapenet 150 reinforcing mesh was installed between two coats combined with the Mapeband at the joints to reinforce the waterproofing layer. Once dry the ceramic tiles were then installed using Keraflex Maxi S1 adhesive and the joints finished with the highly water and abrasion resistant Ultracolor Plus in shade 112 (Medium Grey)
Matt Dudley from EP Ceramics commented: “The installation was made easier by the early involvement of the Mapei team working alongside ourselves and the architect to produce an M40 with the correct products for each stage of the works. Fixers working on the job commented on how high the standard of products being used were, not only for ease of use, but for workability and drying times allowing each stage of the process to progress smoothly. Going forward on future projects we will be pushing the architects and designers to use Mapei products and technical expertise.”
Orms architects oversaw the project and specified Mapei’s system. Rosie Bard, from Orms Architects, commented: “Mapei was the obvious choice for a high end swimming pool environment such as this. The quality of the design, finishes and fit out meant that a product was required that met both the technical and aesthetic requirements “
The Mapelastic AquaDefense waterproofing system was specified for the changing room areas to the walls before fixing tiles. Mapei ceramic products were specified, including high performance adhesives used to fix the tiles. Keraflex Maxi was specified for the tiles to the stair risers and Keraquick, together with Latex Plus, were used to install porcelain, stone, ceramic and glass tiles. Ultracolor Plus grout in shade 114 (Anthracite) was used on tiles in the pool surround and changing room floors, and Ultracolor Plus grout in shade 112 (Medium Grey) for the changing room walls and glass mosaic. To finish the project, Mapei’s Primer FD adhesion promoter was used to prime the edges of the movement joints subject to prolonged water immersion, before the Mapesil AC sealant was applied in matching shades to the Ultracolor Plus Grout.
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Above: Swimming Pool at The American School, St John’s Wood, London by Marcus Peel.