Wimbledon Indoor Courts Get a Racket-Inspired Timber Upgrade

Pre-curved Birch veneered panels line the ceiling of the All England Club's new indoor tennis courts.

Thu 20 Jul 23


The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club has received a timber facelift following the installation of a timber curved roof over the site of its practice courts.

Located opposite the tennis club’s main site, which hosted the iconic Wimbledon tournament last week, it replaces “the ageing concrete dome” previously housing the club’s indoor tennis courts.

British studio Hopkins Architects designed the building with six indoor courts within a partially timber-clad structure punctuated by white, Y-shaped columns.

Speaking to Dezeen, Mike Taylor, the studio’s principal architect, said that “by replacing the existing accommodation, we could unlock some strategic benefits.”

That includes relocating the clay courts to the new site, which will “free up space for entry and queuing on the main campus.”

In addition, “car parking and storage could be located below the courts, whilst “the landscaping could be re-configured to integrate better circulation, plants, and a new players’ entrance.”

A sneak peek inside the club, known as the “All England Club.” Footage courtesy of @Wimbledon.
Birch veneer panels line the pre-curved timber roof. 

Birch veneer panels line the ceiling, while strips of glazing span the length of the space, forming skylights that illuminate the playing areas below.

“The pre-curved Birch veneered panels lining the ceiling still give a sense of the handcrafted quality we originally aspired to,” Taylor said.

The indoor courts optimise playing conditions, with perforations in the pre-curved timber roof panels enhancing acoustic conditions. 

A viewing balcony with a glass balustrade overlooks the courts from one side of the space.

“Playing conditions are optimised through flanking roof lights and balanced LED lighting over each of the six indoor courts.”

Whilst perforations in the timber panels help control sound levels on the court. 

Under the timber-coated roof, a new members’ bar, changing rooms, viewing areas, and courts were added as part of a wider plan to develop the club and enhance connectivity across the site.

The new courts will play an important role in hosting tournaments.

The new courts will not be used for Championship matches; however, Taylor said that “the accommodation plays a key role in the logistics and hosting of the tournament.”

The club has 375 full members, 100 temporary members and a number of honourary members.

Membership in the club is one of the most highly prized in the United Kingdom, with the Princess of Wales, the current patron of the club, replacing the late Queen Elizabeth II in 2016.

For those lucky enough to be members of the All England Tennis Club, “the new courts will be an integral part of the year-round use by club members.”

It is located at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon. (Photo Credit: Willmott Dixon)
The facility replaces the 1950s concrete dome.

Inspired by tennis rackets, Hopkins Architects topped the club facility with a sweeping, double-curved roof made from steel beams.

In addition to the indoor courts, the upper level of the building features areas that facilitate the smooth running of the club’s annual championships, including dispatch and waiting areas for chauffeurs.

According to Mike Taylor from Hopkins Architecture, the design was inspired by the shape of a tennis racket. (Photo Credit: Willmott Dixon)

A drop-off area has been added beneath two raised clay courts, and a new entrance that guides players towards a reception area. 

From here, a new underground tunnel gives players access to the main grounds.

Additional facilities added to the site include a basement-level car park beneath the courts and storage space to house the chillers used when the roof is closed on Wimbledon’s Centre Court.


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