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36 PROJECT REPORT: SPORTS & LEISURE FACILITIES


© Diane Auckland


Alternatively they can be switched off entirely leaving a ‘normal’ floor allowing the space to be used for other functions such as events and exams.


The new sports hall is a truly state-of-the-art result for the client, featuring the UK’s first full LED-lit, sprung glass sports floor


As well as cycling between basketball, badminton, netball and volleyball, more esoteric sports (but potentially well used at Oxford) like futsal and korfball are facilitated. In addition, offset or centred basketball court versions can be produced, as well as central ‘show courts’ for some sports leaving room to bring in seating around them for exhibition matches. The floor is supported by a further aluminium structure below, sitting on rubber packs. The project team held discussions with national sporting governing bodies on the quality of this innovative floor system, to verify it was of a high enough standard to meet the requirements. These were led by senior project manager from Bidwells, David Jobbins, Jon Roycroft, who’s director of sport at Oxford University, and Jennifer Makkreel, deputy head of capital projects at the university.


As part of helping reassure the university’s estates department on the fitness for purpose of this highly unusual solution in the UK context, the architects engaged with the manufacturers ASB to make some tweaks in a few areas. This included working with them on the


detailing to ensure that goalposts and netposts could be mounted safely in a glass floor. “They needed to have a certain robustness as every day people would be


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inserting posts into sockets.” In addition, they challenged the firm to improve a degree of “line bleed” seen in floors they visited, making the line edges somewhat blurry. “It was a good discussion, we said we love it, the client loves it, but could this be better? With the floor being made of glass, in-depth performance questions were also naturally asked around slip resistance, and the impact feel for players – e.g. the height of bounce. “You wouldn’t want one of Oxford teams coming and saying they didn’t want to play here because it didn’t play right, too slippy or too grippy.” The panels’ purpose-designed dimpled surface addresses any such concerns. While Sykes is very pleased with the installation, which has proven its fitness for purpose so far, he admits it “won’t suit all situations.”


Walls & screens


The walls are required to be flush up to a certain height, to provide the necessary ‘rebound’ performance required by various sport according to Sport England guidance. Therefore doors housing equipment such as netting are virtually invisible, and all sockets are carefully recessed into the walls. Oak timber veneered plywood faces the entirety of the inner walls, not only offering the flush surface required at low level, but avoiding the need to detail blockwork and ensure a tidy surface further up for mounting netting and scoreboards. “Over several projects we’ve evolved a language of


ADF JULY 2019


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