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Sportime/John McEnroe Tennis Academy, New York, United States

Thursday 29 Sep 2011

Spot of tennis, anyone?

Copyright Zurita Architects 2011, Norman McGrath (Photos) 2010, Vincent Laforet (Photos) 2010 
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McEnroe launches academy at Sportime's flagship tennis, fitness and sports centre 

With 20 tennis courts, a two-storey clubhouse and stadium-court seating for 1,000 - able to expand temporarily to 2,500 for major events - the project on Randall's Island Park is the largest tennis facility for the public built in NYC in forty years.

The design accommodates the land-intensive programme on a tight, irregularly-shaped 12-acre site and conforms to USTA standards. The design integrates the three building programme elements into one contiguous structure comprising a metal fieldhouse (with five courts), clubhouse and stadium.

The fieldhouse and clubhouse are contained within a six-bay, pre-engineered steel structure sheathed entirely in blue metal panels. The clubhouse, in the eastern-most bay, is rotated to relate to the entrance plaza, while the fissure produced by this inflection introduces natural light to the building.

The stadium seating is conceived as a 'viewing plane' that penetrates the metal shell of the clubhouse as the mezzanine floor. The remaining 15 courts are configured in three equal clusters and enclosed seasonally by bubble structures.

The colours for the building and the artificial landscape of tennis courts were chosen from the same palette. The principal colour of pale blue was chosen as the colour of the fieldhouse because of its capacity to recede as the sky does; the bright green, used along the east-facing facade, is bright and assertive, serving as a counterpoint to the larger bulk of the blue shed.

The striping pattern intended to enliven the principal entrance facade resulted from overlaying stop-motion photographs of bouncing tennis balls found on the internet. The colour stripes mapped the apex of the bounces to transform these studies into an artistic wall pattern.

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Zurita Architects

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