The Portal, Irvine

In 2011, LA won a competition to deliver a new community, cultural and leisure centre in the heart of the town centre Irvine, North Ayrshire.

The building, now complete and operating, has become truly popular and has exceeded all operating targets. Creating a town centre destination in a historic setting requires sympathy and yet courage. In creating a new urban square and Public place as a setting for a new building of civic importance. This project included the remodelling of the historic 1860’s Irvine Town House and the movement and reconstruction of the Monument in its rightful setting on the High Street.

The new leisure centre complex includes:
  • A foyer for exhibitions and meetings
  • Café / lounge to serve the Street as well as the building
  • 25m competition pool
  • Teaching pool
  • Fitness suite
  • Studios
  • Courtyards and a garden to draw light into a deep urban building and provide another Public Realm


"One of the notable strengths of our relationship with LA Architects has been their ability to interpret, and indeed determine, on our behalf, the operational requirements of the leisure centre they are designing for us. In the absence of an experienced leisure operator their absolute understanding of the operational environment has made them much more than a design team for us - they have become our advisers in relation to a range of design and operational issues, including facilities management and design for optimum user experience, lifecycle costs and income generation."

Dr Audrey Sutton - Head of Services North Ayrshire Council 


  • Client − North Ayrshire Council
  • Location − Irvine, Ayrshire
  • Status − Completed
  • Structural Engineer − Furness Partnership
  • M&E Consultant − Hulley & Kirkwood
  • Landscape − LA architects
  • Project Manager − Armour Construction Consultants
  • Quantity Surveyor − Armour Construction Consultants

Foyer and Reception


Japanese Garden

Cafe Seating


Sports Hall

Sports Hall

Fitness Suite

Pool Hall

Pool Hall

NBK Annual