David Morley Architects - Racquet Centre

Project Details

Project - The Racquet Centre
Sector - Retail & Leisure
Company - David Morley Architects
Technology - Timber

Project Overview

The Racquet Centre completes the third phase of a master plan to broaden the appeal of the Hurlingham Club's sports and leisure facilities to a wider demographic.

The new building is in Metropolitan Open Land, a conservation area and within the curtilage of a listed building. It was developed in close collaboration with the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham's planning and conservation officers, and English Heritage.

The scheme comprises four indoor tennis courts, four squash courts and a flexible multi-use games area, all located on the site of some existing covered tennis courts.

An insulated vaulted roof with a sedum grass finish was designed to visually merge with the park setting, articulated by strips of glazed roof lights between each court. In cross section the tied-arch portal links the geometry of the main tennis hall to a two storey wing containing viewing galleries and secondary support spaces.

The structure includes five twinned arched portal frames spanning 38 metres supporting timber stress-skin cassettes which provide an acoustically absorbent uncluttered soffit above each tennis court. Laminated veneer lumber (LVL) was selected to form the cassettes due to its increased strength and stiffness and to achieve the required 13m spans. The result is a 38 by 70m column free space. Offsite manufacture of the cassettes helped contain the overall construction programme. The roof was delivered in one week and installed over a total of three.

From the outset the design and client team aspired to develop a sustainable/low energy building, while delivering an enjoyable and comfortable internal environment. The design includes the holistic integration of passive solutions that help to reduce the amount of energy needed for the building to function by:

- The provision of rooflights to deliver ample, well-distributed, functional daylight in the tennis courts and gallery areas. This approach reduces the building's reliance on artificial lighting.

- Controllable louvre panels help remove heat in the summer by natural cross-ventilation.

- A vertical solar shading system that protects from glare and allows a visual connection with the outdoor environment.

The building responds efficiently to climatic conditions as well as the needs of the users; and feature the extensive use of daylight-linked controls, natural ventilation controls and other occupancy/demand-led controls. Within the tennis hall the artificial lighting and heating systems have been zoned on a court-by-court basis, to avoid energy wastage when a court is not use. The 'as-designed' energy performance of the building is predicted to be circa 25% better than the requirements set out in the Building Regulations Part L2A/2010.