The lights are on...

Sophie Therouanne
Monday 29 Jun 2009

New retractable roof enables latest ever Wimbledon finish

The redevelopment of Centre Court at Wimbledon is a significant milestone in the modernisation of sport. The most dramatic feature of the Centre Court redesign is the retractable roof, which last night made a historic impact as Andy Murray edged out opponent Stanislas Wawrinka in an epic 5-set battle that continued late into the evening.

The project's evolution has been 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 combination of special and specific roof and bowl requirements have created a unique design solution. A key consideration is the internal environment during those times when the roof is closed: both players and spectators need to be comfortable.

To that end, the design allows natural light to reach the grass, while an airflow removes condensation from within the bowl. The Championships have always been played on grass; the surface is a fundamental part of its tradition. So it has held fast to its identity and introduced the latest technology to maintain the natural grass surface.

An extra six rows of seating on three sides of the upper tier increased the capacity at Centre Court from 13,800 to 15,000. New wider seats have been installed to provide greater spectator comfort. To allow for the new seating, new media facilities and commentary boxes have been incorporated.

Populous have also upgraded the south-eastern, northern and eastern wings of the existing Centre Court and provided new accommodation comprising debentures, hospitality and dining facilities.

Key Facts:

Architecture
United Kingdom
Civic Buildings

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