Originally constructed as a defence post in the 18th century, the King’s Bastion in Gibraltar was also the island’s main power station during the 1960s and 70s. For the 21st century, the Bastion has been transformed once more, this time into one of the Island’s premier visitor attractions: The King’s Bastion Leisure Centre. In this latest incarnation, the Bastion offers a wide array of entertainment including bowling, ice skating, an amusement arcade, a games room, an internet lounge, a restaurant, numerous bars, a youth bar/lounge, a disco, cinemas and a fitness gym, all contained within the existing 300-year-old structure.
The original fire strategy for this complex scheme did not gain approval from the local Fire Office, the approving authority in Gibraltar, so FDS Consult was brought in to apply the company’s innovative approach to fire design and international knowledge of building regulations to the development.
The limitations of the existing structure posed challenges in terms of devising a viable evacuation strategy and this was further complicated by the complexity of evacuating members of the public from specific areas of the leisure centre, such as the ice rink, where visitors would be wearing ice skates. In addition, FDS Consult’s creative approach to designing the fire strategy also had to address the need to maintain the architect’s vision for an open, free flowing space which featured both an atrium and glass bridges to maximise light.
Thanks to FDS Consult’s expert evaluation of the existing structure and understanding of the client’s requirements, the team was able to rationalise the scheme’s means of escape requirements and design a phased evacuation strategy to enable increased occupancy levels and improved evacuation management, making the development both safer and potentially more profitable. FDS Consult’s creative approach to addressing the challenges of the scheme ensured that it successfully gained Fire Office approval.