Client: The All
England Lawn Tennis Croquet Club (AELTCC)
Location: London, South West
Services: Structural Engineering
Sector: Sport & Leisure
Contract Type: Bespoke
Project Value: N/A
Start/Completion: 2003 - 2009
With a roof weighing 3,000 tonnes and
capacity for 15,000 fervent tennis fans, Wimbledon’s redeveloped
Centre Court has propelled the home of tennis into the modern
Capita Symonds provided structural engineering
services on the project since its inception in 2003. The work
involved the demolition and re-construction of the East Wing
together with the provision of an additional six rows of seating
around the East, North and West wings. To accommodate these
additional seats the original 1922 roof had to be renewed so the
opportunity was taken to also provide a retractable roof enabling
play to continue even in wet weather.
The Roof: How It Works
The 5,200 sqm roof features a special
waterproof structural material (Tenara) that is very strong, highly
flexible and at 40% translucent is not transparent for
players/spectators but will let in natural light.
- The structure is a type of folding fabric
concertina, which allows the roof to be folded into a very
compressed area when not in use.
- The roof is divided into two sections, with a
total of nine bays of tensioned fabric - four bays in one section
and five in the other. Each of the nine bays of tensioned
fabric is clamped on either side to prismatic steel trusses.
There are 10 trusses spanning approximately 77 metres across the
court. Ends of each truss are supported by a set of bogies
that move along parallel tracks positioned at either side within
the new ‘fixed’ roof.
- The roof has been designed to close in a
maximum of 10 minutes.
- After the roof is closed, play can resume
after a period of around 30 minutes, depending on climatic
The arena’s air-management system also has a
particularly vital role in controlling and stabilising the internal
environment within the bowl - essentially controlling humidity and
preventing either condensation on the inside of the roof or
sweating of the grass, either of which would make the court
slippery and unsuitable for play.
- ECCS European Steel Design Awards 2009 - UK Winner
- BCSA Structural Steel Design Awards 2009 - Winner