The sports hub will
allow the University
to achieve its lofty
portion of a longer spliced column,” explains
Hambleton Steel Design Engineer Andrew
Dobson. At basement level the column is
a vertical UC section, it then changes to a
raking section for the ground floor and then
reverts back to a vertical member higher up.”
Another design innovation from
Hambleton is a series of beams that cantilever
out from the top of the sports hall’s roof and
over the lower roof of the adjoining areas.
Willmott Dixon supported the scaffold for
the cladding installation on these sacrificial
beams, which will be removed once the
cladding is complete.
“This helped speed up the installation of
the scaffolding as it would have ordinarily
been supported from ground level. By using
the beams the scaffold was erected more
rapidly, which allowed us to get started on the
cladding earlier, and meant we got the sports
hall watertight earlier,” says Mr Preedy.
At the southern end of the hub there is
an 8m-high swimming pool hall, which is
another large open column-free space. This
zone is formed by a series of 30m-long glulam
beams supported on steel columns.
The columns in the pool area will be left
exposed in the completed building, as will
most of the sports hub’s steel frame. To this
end, all of the project’s steelwork has been
painted with a high-spec protective coating
to prevent any corrosion from the potentially
humid and chlorinated conditions.
The sports hub’s other facilities occupy
the large area between these two columnfree
zones, as well as running along the
entire eastern elevation. In these parts, the
hub has three floors, a basement – mainly
accommodating changing rooms and offices, a
ground floor with the main entrance, climbing
wall and squash courts, wet changing facilities
and a café, and a first floor containing a
330-station gym and multi-purpose studios.
Steel starts at basement level, where a large
concrete retaining wall forms this partially
subterranean level. Early in the construction
programme Willmott Dixon completed a
cut and fill operation, removing 20,000m3 of
overburden to level the previously sloping site.
As well as internal exposed steelwork,
some of the hub’s exterior steel will also be
remain visible as architectural features.
Adjacent to the pool hall a large
cantilevering canopy, partially supported
by raking CHS columns, creates an outdoor
terrace for the hub’s café.
At the opposite end of the hub, a similar
canopy forms the roof for the facility’s main
entrance, again supported by raking columns.
These raking 273mm-diameter columns
also extend along the exterior of the eastern
elevation, joining the two canopies with a
series of large Ws, which obviously stand for
Most of these raking columns are not
structural, but purely architectural. They are
attached to the elevation’s cantilevering roof
and will be installed once the cladding is
Summing up, Willmott Dixon Managing
Director in the Midlands Peter Owen says:
“This is a fantastic project to be part of,
creating cutting edge sporting facilities for the
community at University of Warwick, which
will really benefit its users.”
University of Warwick
University of Warwick
Architect: Space & Place
Steel tonnage: 900t
columns adorn the
sports hall’s viewing