St Hugh’s School Swimming Pool

The swimming pool at St Hugh's school with Prihoda fabric diffusers


St Hugh’s School is a prestigious prep school in Faringdon, Oxfordshire. Initially established in Kent in 1906, it moved to its current location after WWII. It offers tuition to both day and boarding students and is renowned for its curricular excellence and high-quality sports facilities.

To expand its sports education offering, St Hugh’s school opened a state-of-the-art 20m indoor swimming pool, complete with a viewing gallery and changing rooms.

The swimming pool at St Hugh's school with Prihoda fabric diffusers

The Challenge

Designing a ventilation system for this project was not without challenges. In a swimming pool, preventing draughts is even more critical than in most other applications, as the wet skin of pool users is particularly sensitive to draughts. This project required a different air distribution pattern for each side of the swimming pool due to having seating on one side and a wall of glazing on the other side. Additionally, with the viewing gallery window positioned high above the swimming pool level, supplying air to that area would require further arrangements.

Inlet section of a white fabric duct.


Our Approach

To ensure the air distribution would address this project’s ventilation requirements, we designed a system with a header and two branches running down the length of the walls. As with all swimming pools, we fitted the ducts with corrosion-resistant zippers. We used several rows of laser-cut perforations to provide airflow to seated spectators and along the pool deck on the seating side. On the windowed side, laser-cut perforations were directed at the glazing to inhibit condensation and keep it crystal clear. Similarly, we added a large 80mm adjustable nozzle to each branch’s blank end to direct the airflow to the viewing gallery window, washing over the glazing and preventing condensation from forming on it.

Internal aluminium rings were used at 1,000mm intervals to maintain the ducts’ round shape even when the air unit is switched off. This way, the ducts retain their aesthetic characteristics and remain visually pleasing.

White Prihoda textile duct with internal rings to keep its shape when uninflated.

The Outcome

With the zoned distribution approach, the fabric duct system delivers first-class ventilation to the swimming pool, diffusing warm air throughout the pool area while preventing undesirable condensation on the glazing and the viewing gallery window. The low maintenance requirements of fabric ducts make them perfect for a busy school like St Hugh’s. And because they are made from textile material, fabric ducts are safe from corrosion and perfectly suited to swimming pool ventilation.

The result? A comfortable environment for all pool users, at the right air temperature and without unpleasant draughts.

Indoor swimming pool with Prihoda fabric ducts.

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