“”The team worked with the site constraints to provide the best value through innovation. This was also a sustainable approach when compared to the option of complete demolition and rebuild. —Jean-Philippe Cartz, Capita Symonds, London, England
PHOTO COURTESY AELTC
Games at Wimbledon’s Centre Court are now guaranteed to be a dry affair—and that’s a good thing. In the past, rain could stall the action at the tennis stadium, but no more,
thanks to a new retractable roof.
Once the 5,200-square-meter ( 55,972-square-foot)
roof is closed, play can resume within 30 minutes after an
air-management system removes condensation from the
grass and prevents it from “sweating.”
The three-year project was part of a US$146 million
overhaul of the storied 87-year-old stadium. With no
room for unforced errors, the project team tried out the
system’s mechanics off site.
“The test proved invaluable in resolving the details of
the project and prevented numerous difficulties,” says
Jean-Philippe Cartz, structural engineering director at
Capita Symonds, a London-based consultancy working
on the roof. “It allowed the sequencing of construction
to be checked and practiced … and fully developed and
tested before site installation.”
The team also had to make sure the roof didn’t overshadow the court—literally. “The lawn has stringent
growing conditions,” says Mr. Cartz. To accommodate
the grass court’s need for plenty of sunlight, the roof was
divided into two sections, with the retractable system
stowed at the stadium’s northern end.
Since its debut on 17 May, the project has been
showing a clear ROI. The grand opening—or, rather,
closing—of the new structure came right before the
rain started pouring down.