NATIONAL TENNIS CENTRE, ROEHAMPTON, UK
National Tennis Centre
100 Priory Lane
The lawn tennis association (LTA) had long
identified the need for a centre of
excellence, to provide a world class facility
for players and coaches and to be its
administrative headquarters. In 2002 the LTA
purchased a section of the bank of england
sports ground in Roehampton.
The National Tennis (NTC) centre provides a
world-class facility for young players and
coaches and the administrative headquarters
for the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA).
The LTA wanted to provide one state-of-the-art
training facility of national focus for tennis in
the UK and for present players, including
international wheelchair players.
The national tennis centre (NTC) comprises six
indoor courts, 16 outdoor courts, player training
facilities including a gym and a hydrotherapy
pool, sports medicine/science facilities, player
accommodation, a cafe, teaching spaces
and office accommodation.
The LTA brief for the project was that it had to
be environmentally friendly, robust and
durable, cost effective but, above all, be a
facility where the users will be inspired to work
and train. The LTA, with its design team, strove
to achieve a building that respects the need
for sustainable development, whilst
preserving the ability to adapt to future
needs. Examples of sustainable features like a
robust and adaptable building suited to
future layout changes
The roof is curved in section and has a
column-free span of approximately 40m
courts .During the design phase a
number of structural options were
considered for the roof. The choice was
driven by cost, ease, aesthetics,
functionality and durability. The chosen
solution comprises pairs of steel arches,
spaced 17.4m apart, and spanning 40m
across the courts. Each arch consists of
curved beam sections, with the central
portion bent to a constant concave
radius and the outer portions constant
convex radii. These arches are
supported by pairs of concrete shear
walls in the side blocks.
In this way, the steel roof structure, acting as solution for the long span roof.
The reception building connects the court buildings to the offices. It is covered with a
PTFE coated woven glass fibre roof. Two steel masts support a catenary cable with the
fabric suspended via a series of steel 'coathangers'. Boundary cables maintain tension
in the fabric, so that the roof forms a double curved surface.
The attributes of steel construction are well adapted for optimise the design. This is
primarily because it offers a cost-effective solution. In addition, steel is a versatile and
sustainable material which has an aesthetic appeal at both large and at small/detail-scale.
It offers flexibility which can be very important for projects that are constrained by
site or planning restrictions, or for venues which may wish to add to or reduce their
overall capacity in the future, for example, grandstands for stadia hosting major sporting
events. All sports stadia use steel construction as part of the functional and architectural
this type of buildings usually need large column-free spaces for pitches, courts,
swimming pools, etc. and to provide unimpeded views for spectators in stadia and
arenas. Steel offers the best and most cost effective method of achieving these
requirements. almost all modern stadia use some sort of long-span steel construction
and many architecturally-driven solutions are possible only using steel.
In addition to providing structurally efficient solution, steel construction allows designers
to deliver aesthetically appealing buildings, offering clean lines, slender elements and a
contemporary appearance. It offers an excellent strength-to-weight ratio meaning that
less material is required in comparison to other materials.
One of the main advantages of steel in leisure building design is its capability to span long
distances without the need for intermediate supports. This means that large unobstructed space
can be created, which are necessary for swimming pools, gymnasia and pitches/courts as well as
indoor and outdoor stadia. Spaces can also be created beneath the roof structure, which can
be utilised for other revenue activities. By using steel trusses in a radial arrangement, which
cantilever over the supports, the desired effect was achieved.
Steel is a sustainable material in that it is multi-cyclable. Steel construction is adaptable, reusable,
and offers a zero-waste solution. Leisure structures often comprise bespoke designs with significant
associated costs. Savings, both in terms of material resources and cost, are achieved through
lightweight structural steel solutions.
The leisure buildings covered in this article are large in scale and therefore the use of high quality
protection systems with a long life expectancy is important to clients in order to reduce long-term
maintenance costs. To this end, the guarantees provided by steel suppliers together with useful
maintenance advice mean that steel is the ideal choice of material.
Application of steel in exposed locations and corrosive environments (for example swimming
pools) requires careful selection of the corrosion protection system in order to reduce the long-term
Steel plays a vital supporting role in all of these categories of stadium roof. It facilitates
the wide spans required, and when correctly protected, requires little maintenance.
With lightweight structures, using steel with cables and membranes, translucent roofs
allow a lot of light to penetrate, reduce the artificial light requirement and provide
For stadia, the most critical design decision relating to the structural form centres around
the form of roof that is employed. On the other hand, for arenas and indoor theatres,
auditoria, etc., the design of the building has to be coordinated with its functional
requirements and its operational energy performance, including lighting, acoustics, etc.
THE NATIONAL TENNIS CENTRE, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
Melbourne VIC 3000
The national tennis centre at melbourne
park comprises of a high performance
tennis centre consisting of 21 indoor and
outdoor tennis courts, a public plaza,
1000 space public bus and carpark. The
High Performance Tennis Centre is
designed to be an elite, world class
training centre for tennis.
Modulated glazing of the hall and the
incorporation of south facing roof lights provides a
highly transparent internal space with visual &
physical connections to the adjoining outdoor
This provides an even spread of natural daylight
within the hall reducing the total reliance on
artificial lighting. The hall is naturally ventilated with
louvres integrated into the south facade and air
exhaust shafts to the north of the hall delivers a
natural flow of air across all courts.
Eight courts are targeted at developing young
players and use for training. while the facilities are
open to professionals and laymen alike. the building
was delivered one year early, in time for the 2013
australian open, and is an early product of decades
of planning to revamp the complex, which hosts 200
events outside of tennis per year.
Massing of mature trees provides shading and
protection to public open spaces and assists in
reducing the visual impact of the new buildings.