A covered terrace sits
adjacent to the cafe
Due to complete in March 2019,
the University of Warwick’s new
sports hub will create one of the
foremost sports facilities at a UK
university – including what is claimed to be
the country’s largest gym facility in the higher
The project aligns with the University’s
ambition to be the “most physically active
campus community in the UK by 2020”.
Replacing the current sports centre on
the campus, the hub will feature a 16-court
sports hall, a 25m-long swimming pool with
a moveable floor, fitness suites, climbing and
bouldering walls and flexible studio spaces,
as well as squash courts, outdoor 3G sports
pitches and netball courts. It will also be the
official training ground of Coventry’s Wasps
Netball Superleague team.
Cost is always a major factor in any
construction scheme and this project is no
different. Early in the design phase, Willmott
Dixon engaged with the steelwork contractor
Hambleton Steel to help with a value
The project’s original design envisaged
a steel frame supporting precast planks to
form the building’s upper floors. Hambleton
suggested changing this to a more costeffective
metal decking solution.
“We changed all the floors to metal
decking with the exception the wet changing
rooms and areas near to the pool because of
chlorine corrosion concerns,” says Willmott
Dixon Construction Manager Nick Preedy.
“This meant we had to add extra beams
to support the decking as it couldn’t span as
far as the planks, but overall we used less steel
tonnage as a lighter frame was needed, which
ultimately saved the client money.”
Another benefit resulting from this
design change was a quicker steel erection
programme. Including the metal decking
installation and the remaining precast planks,
the work was completed in 13 weeks instead
of the previously estimated 18 weeks.
Overall the sports hub is one large
steel frame, which gains its stability from
strategically-placed cross bracing, and offers
14,000m2 of floor space.
Two large open-plan areas dominate the
building and are placed at either end of the
200m-long structure. At the northern end of
the structure the 16-court sports hall is a large
column-free space reaching the full-height of
the building. The hall is formed with a series
of 11 spliced 40m-long × 2m-deep trusses,
which weighed 8t each.
The trusses are supported at one end
by tubular raking columns that form the
architectural feature façade for a viewing
“These raking columns are the middle
A value-engineered and highly efficient steel-framed sports
hub will help the University of Warwick achieve its ambitious
physical activity targets.