Unique Fitness Case Study

Grey fabric ducts with laser-cut perforations for gym ventilation

The University of Bradford is a public research university known primarily for its work within healthcare and archaeology. Since its establishment in the 1960s, Bradford university students have enjoyed a vibrant student life on its modern campus, which has been redeveloped and expanded a number of times with a strong emphasis on environmentally conscious construction techniques and materials. One of the latest developments on campus has been the construction of a new student village (“The Green”) and the redevelopment of the fitness facilities. The on-campus gym, Unique Fitness, comprises two separate floors with modern gym equipment and a dedicated fitness studio offering a range of fitness classes and other activities. The gym is popular with both students and the general public.

After many years in service, the existing gym ventilation system was nearing the end of its designed life. To refresh the gym environment, the existing system would be replaced with a new bespoke fabric duct system, which would connect to the ducted air handling units already in place. Working with Sayes and Co Ltd, Prihoda UK was tasked with supplying the fabric diffusers that would condition each floor of the Unique Fitness gym.

Half round grey fabric ducting in a gym

Gym ventilation with textile ducting

The upper floor of the gym has an exposed flat roof with visible structural elements which take up some of the already limited vertical space, leaving less room for the fabric ducting. To create the perfect air distribution, a bespoke ductwork layout was designed for each area which follows the unique shape of each room and considers the location of the gym equipment, architectural features, windows, etc. Suspended, half-round air ducts were selected to create a slimmer profile. Where possible, they were installed alongside or through the structure to leave as much vertical room as possible. Laser-cut perforations arranged in precisely calculated patterns provide lots of cool air and air movement without creating unpleasant draughts that could cause discomfort to gym goers.

Condensation can be an issue in cooling applications, as the dew point depends on the humidity inside the room, and it is therefore not always possible to predict whether the temperature of the supply air will be near or even below cooling. To prevent any unwanted condensation, the textile ductwork designed for this project is made of permeable textile material, which does not allow the build-up of condensation. Using permeable material makes insulating the ducts unnecessary, making the whole installation lighter weight and more affordable. Additionally, we set up a few extra rows of laser-cut perforations pointed at the windows to prevent condensation on the glazing.

Unique Fitness gym textile ductwork with laser-cut perforations

Recycled material for greener gym ventilation

Keeping with the university’s commitment to the environment, the fabric ducts are made in recycled polyester material made from post-consumer plastic bottles. The material is also made up of endless polyester fibres rather than staple fabric, so they do not shed polyester fibres (microplastics) into the room.

The result is a fresher and more comfortable environment for gym goers. The bespoke layout of the fabric ductwork fits the layout of each gym area precisely, providing the right amount of air in the right places, and therefore perfectly serving the fitness spaces. The laser-cut perforations spread the cool supply air throughout the gym spaces without creating currents of cold air that can be distracting and unpleasant for the occupants. And with a 10-year warranty and easy maintenance options, the new ducts will be able to supply great gym ventilation for many years to come.

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