YoE: Engineering in Sport
Over the years, we’ve been reminded of the poor state of past Olympic sites, which too often fall into disrepair within months of the international celebration of athletics. Given the amount of money that’s poured into these structures, so many are missed opportunities – a reminder of the role social sustainability should play in designing large spaces.
Our work on sports facilities draws on other subjects we’ve focused on for the Year of Engineering, including the environment and improving lives. When a sports facility is carefully planned, keeping the local community and surrounding area in mind, it can have a positive and lasting impact.
When we carried out the structural and civil engineering design for the Games-time training venue at Mayesbrook Park in Dagenham, we made sure to plan for usage beyond the 2012 Summer Olympics.
We were appointed to carry out the full design of the superstructure for four full size hand ball pitches, including a 50 metre by 100 metre clear span roof incorporating curved cellular rafters into the main sports hall. To encourage continued use of the vast space, it can also be split up for other sports, whether 16 badminton courts, five netball courts or four five-a-side pitches.
Along with providing training facilities for the Olympics and Paralympics, the venue was used during the major events for handball, judo and wheelchair rugby.
Attached to the development, a three-storey block comprises a training gym, restaurant, changing facilities and a double height feature reception area. Single layer composite cladding materials and ground improvement techniques delivered economical site construction.
We were able to contribute to the Mayesbrook Park regeneration scheme with our design of the external infrastructure. Surface water drainage, which required a shallow conveyancing network to discharge into a series of swales, provided attenuation for the arena, helping to improve biodiversity and amenity for the local area.
Six years on, a carefully planned design and infrastructure has prevented the venue from becoming a decaying relic. Instead, it continues to benefit the area as a widely used sports and community centre.
To read last month’s article on engineering in the environment, click here.