Blog: SECBE Awards 2023 Finalist Indoor Tennis Centre, The All England Lawn Tennis Club (Willmott Dixon)

26 April 2023

Project of the Year over £10m sponsored by Hill Dickinson

Photos by Peter Langdown

Indoor Tennis Centre, The All England Lawn Tennis Club (submitted by Willmott Dixon)

Building Project of the Year over £10m SECBE Award 2023 finalist

As one of the world’s most prestigious tennis clubs, The All England Lawn Tennis Club (which stages The Championships, Wimbledon) has a global profile that requires facilities to match. Having identified the need for a new world-class year-round indoor tennis facility for its Members that could equally play a key role in delivering services for the sport’s highest-profile players during The Championships, the All England Club spent five years perfecting a design that would cement its reputation as the best place to play and experience tennis anywhere in the world.

The finished project is a visually stunning building that contains six acrylic courts side-by-side beneath an undulating standing seam roof. An accommodation block runs the eastern length of the building, with perfect lines of sight from the upper level, both into the indoor courts and to the six outdoor clay courts set within the landscape.

There is a main reception for Members and their guests, dressing rooms, waiting lobby with lounges, bar, viewing gallery balcony and ancillary support spaces. Beneath the building, there is a 338 space basement car park, storage and plant spaces (including the boiler and CHP room powering the building) and various back of house facilities along with a 100m long tunnel connecting back to the main estate for safe passage of its users.

The building was designed with a dual-purpose catering for its Members year-round but also tailored to provide for The Championships each summer. This meant discreetly intertwining and concealing infrastructure throughout the building and saw Willmott Dixon build in unique intricacies to accommodate. This included: separate Players’ entrance reception, transport facilities, temporary car parking, bespoke removable joinery, broadcast cabling and extra facilities for each overlay. The nearly three-year programme was challenging with the project team having to adhere to fixed deadlines and nuances due to the yearly Championships and year-round use for Members.

The design required high-spec finishes that were sourced from the UK in the first instance, with incredible attention to detail. Willmott Dixon not only managed to deliver exactly to the original design, with the digital renders matching perfectly to the completed building, but also handed over to the agreed quality, budget and programme without compromising on health and safety. With more than 45 trades and approximately 150 personnel on site, this was a remarkable achievement considering significant challenges such as Covid, lockdowns, Brexit and the exacting aspirations of the All England Club.

Fundamental to the project’s success was the relationship Willmott Dixon fostered between the All England Club, its stakeholder teams, consultants and supply chain. The word ‘pride’ comes to mind because everyone across the project formed  ‘one team’ approach to bring it to fruition. The All England Club team were fully integrated, with their own full-time senior project, design and services managers working alongside the delivery team. Willmott Dixon created full transparency and trust between all parties, ensuring swift but collaborative decision-making that shows demonstrably in the superb quality of the buildings finish.

With a project of this scale, complexity and global profile, there were a huge number of stakeholders to consider. These included: the All England Club Board;  steering group committee; a range of internal departments including Estate Development, Estate Management, Groundstaff, Security, Horticulture, Technology and Championships Operations; along with closely-located neighbours, the wider community and Club Members themselves. Alongside this and the rigid timelines The Championships demands, the project could only be delivered through exemplary leadership and collaboration to ensure everyone was satisfied throughout the journey of the project.

Key achievements:

  • Willmott Dixon team truly went above and beyond for the All England Club. The whole team worked collaboratively throughout the project journey to ensure we met the quality, budget and programme expectations set by the All England Club.

  • Willmott Dixon were committed to making sure their problems didn’t become All England Club’s problems. We made sure that our works didn’t impact on their brand and their legacy particularly concerning The Championships as we operated a mantra, ‘it’s all about the tennis’, which echoed throughout the teams.

  • The building is considerably unique, Willmott Dixon delivered over 20 complex, innovative and bespoke solutions on the project. For this, the All England Club wanted the new facility to rival the best indoor courts worldwide. The finished product has received great feedback from Members and professional tennis players alike and is a benchmark for future works across the wider Estate.

Client: The All England Lawn Tennis Club

Project Partners: Willmott Dixon, Hopkins Architects, Cundall, Careys, Terra Firma, Express Group

Find out more about Project Partners:

Willmott Dixon (LinkedIn, TwitterInstagram)

Wimbledon (LinkedIn, TwitterInstagram)

Find out who wins at the Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2023 Ceremony on Thurs 29th June 2023.

About the Building Project of the Year Award (sponsored by  Hill Dickinson) 

Project of the Year delivers outstanding outcomes for all those involved in a construction project.  It showcases the benefits achieved through the application of many of the principles described in the other award categories. More info.

>> Find out more about the other Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2023 finalists here

As Willmott Dixon are Headline Sponsor of the Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2023, they are not eligible for the People's Choice Award.

Willmott Dixon will be presenting the winner of the award at the ceremony on 29th June.

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