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New court served well at Wimbledon Championships

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The latest in a series of improvements and developments at the All England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon, the new Court 3 was recently completed and opened for use at the 2011 Wimbledon Open Championships by the Duke of Kent. 

The project has been designed by architects Populous and has been built by Galliford Try, who has been carrying out projects at the venue for the last 25 years. Works on this specific programme involved the amalgamation of the original Courts 2 and 3 areas and the provision of new facilities within a new stand.

Located on the western side of the site, south of Centre Court and adjacent to the Millennium building, the new Court 3 has a footprint of approximately 1060m2 and includes seating for 2,000 spectators (both ticketed and free access). The stand is an open-air 6m high bowl structure, mostly constructed in fair faced concrete and shaped in a rectangle with 10 metre radius corners. Facilities include spectator terracing, including seating for disabled people, eight commentary boxes and ‘Hawk Eye’ observation points on the lines of the court. Beneath the stand are ancillary facilities including debentures, a lost property store, plant rooms and a players’ area.

The eastern side of the stand, which incorporates a series of columns spaced at approximately 3 metre intervals, is cantilevered over a walkway which connects with the centre court and court number 2.

Feedback from the 2011 Championships was positive, with reports that the new court was a contrast to the prestigious ‘show courts’, challenging players in a different way, and impressing ticket-holders with the intimacy of the arena. Moreover, old and new players alike have expressed amused relief at the demolition of the old Court Number 2, over which the new has been built. Known as ‘the graveyard’ and an ill omen for competitors, players are looking forward to making their names on the new Court 3.

Landmark developments ongoing at Wimbledon

Populous, working with Galliford Try, have been involved in the redevelopment of a number of key areas at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon.

The grandest part of the project has been the redevelopment of the famous Centre Court. The project involved the upgrade of the south-eastern, northern and eastern wings of the existing Centre Court and the provision of new accommodation comprising debentures, hospitality and dining facilities to take The Club into the 21st Century.

The most dramatic feature of the redesign is the retractable roof, the evolution of which was scientifically demanding: measuring 65 x 75 metres, the hydraulically operated structure is a ‘folding fabric concertina’, with steel trusses supporting a translucent fabric skin. The roof now allows the feature matches and finals to be played under cover during the inclement weather over the two weeks of The Championships.

A key consideration is the internal environment during those times when the roof is closed: both the players and spectators need to be comfortable. To that end, the design allows natural light to reach the grass, while airflow removes condensation from within the bowl.

With tickets ever more in demand, an extra six rows of seating on three sides of the upper tier increased the capacity from 13,800 to 15,000. New wider seats have been installed as well as new media facilities and commentary boxes.

Another element of the project, the new Court 2 which was completed in 2009 and seats 4,000 spectators, is sunk into the ground to reduce its visual impact. The basement area contains player’s facilities and areas for officials and ground staff. Adjacent to Court 2 are new turnstile and first aid facilities.

Mr Bill Augustin of Populous said: “Galliford Try have been carrying out projects at this venue for a long time. They provide the client with what is wanted, carry out projects on time and know the client very well. They are doing an excellent job.”

WestMuckett Hawkes

Structural consulting engineers WestMuckett Hawkes Ltd. have played an important role in the 25-year master plan to make Wimbledon the singular most important tennis event in the world. Whilst associated with Building Design Partnership (BDP), they participated in the master planning and Stage 1 structural design. Their first task was to create a model of the existing structure and site constraints. John Westmuckett, director of Westmuckett Hawkes Ltd., said: “As the design progressed and the trade contractors became involved, their production models were incorporated and checked against this base model. This ensured full coordination and understanding of these key interfaces. Whilst Westmuckett Hawkes Ltd. was originally employed as the project director for the main structural consultant Capita Symonds, they were also involved in all subsequent stages of the redevelopment project, including conducting design coordination sessions for multiple contractors and disciplines and encouraging both individual and collaborative innovation by communicating with stakeholders.

 Hubbard Architectural Metalwork

Simon Watts from Hubbard Architectural Metalwork said: “We’ve been working on the site with Galliford Try for a number of years. We provided the external glass infill balustrades for the centre court, and also the balustrades to the access stairs in each wing.  We then moved onto courts two, and three and did just about all the metalwork on these which comprised of glass infill balustrades to the perimeters, handrails, structural glass barriers, along with the large TV screen support structures.

“We like to think we’ve provided a professional service, and have developed a relationship that has proved invaluable throughout the three projects.”

 Camatic Pty Ltd

After the recommendations of the designers on the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club project, Camatic Pty Ltd were elected to provide and install all new Camatic Quantum seats in the newly refurbished Centre Court and the new Court 2; a total of approximately 19,000 seats. The seats were trialled on site against competitor seating during the 2007 Championships and were well received by a 15,000 crowd at the Test Event for the new retractable roof in 2009.

Gary Mayle, AELTC Long Term Planning Projects Manager said: “The input from Camatic from start to finish has been second to none; from first commercial discussions, through sampling and trials, shipping, and technical support to final installation team on site, the service has been first class.


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