Posts tagged with "tennis":

Placeholder Alt Text

The US Open starts a new chapter in its architectural history

Though the US Open has been hosted at its current complex for 50 years, the tournament itself has been going on since 1881, meaning there’s a rich backstory about where and how America’s Grand Slam has evolved. This year marked a new chapter in the tournament's history as the new Louis Armstrong Stadium opened for play, ending a five-year renovation project of the site's currently facilities. Here’s a brief history lesson in the architectural layout and legacy of the world-renowned United States Open Tennis Championships. Luckily for tennis lovers, all of these spaces are still playable today. International Tennis Hall of Fame, Newport, Rhode Island Perhaps the oldest and most prominent tennis facility in the United States, this ancestral home of the US Open welcomes players from all over the world to its historic grass courts and Victorian-style clubhouse. Formerly named the Newport Casino, the facility was designed by McKim, Mead & White in 1880 and was the center of the city’s society in its heyday. Upon opening, it hosted the first U.S. National Men’s Singles Championship in 1881. When the tournament outgrew its Newport location in 1914, it was relocated to the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, New York, eventually evolving into what we know today as the US Open. When the site was in danger of demolition in the 1950s, it was repositioned as the International Hall of Fame and later became a National Historic Landmark in 1987, preserving a shining example of American shingle-style architecture. West Side Tennis Club, Forest Hills, New York This 125-year-old tennis club was founded not long after the Newport Casino opened in Rhode Island. Established in 1892 in its original Upper West Side location, the club built out its current facilities in Forest Hills in order to accommodate its growing membership. The grounds were set within Forest Hills Gardens, a 175-acre community designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. Overlooking the courts is a stunning Tudor-style clubhouse built to complement the surrounding Georgian and Tudor homes. The United States Lawn Tennis Association National Championship moved the tournament to the West Side Tennis Club in 1915, where it continued every year until 1977. Today, the club boasts 38 tennis courts of varying surfaces including grass, hard, red clay, and Har-Tru, as well the 13,000-seat Forest Hills Stadium, the country’s first arena featuring a concrete facade. Today, the stadium hosts a celebrated summer music series along with other arts events. A junior Olympic-size swimming pool and paddle tennis courts are also included on site. USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing, New York Located three miles north of the West Side Tennis Club, this 46.5-acre complex has been the current home of the US Open since 1978. It was initially called the USTA National Tennis Center but was later rededicated in 2006 to women’s tennis champion Billie Jean King. The campus is set within Flushing Meadows–Corona Park and today features 33 courts including three mega-arenas: Arthur Ashe Stadium, Louis Armstrong Stadium, and the Grandstand. The latter two structures exclusively held the Open matches until Ashe was built in 1977. After rain delays majorly halted play during from 2008 to 2012, the USTA created a master plan to rebrand and solidify the entire complex ahead of the tournament’s 50th anniversary in 2018. This $600 million overhaul included demolishing the 54-year-old Armstrong Stadium, which was originally constructed as the Singer Bowl for the 1964-65 World’s Fair. A new, 14,000-seat structure was built from scratch in its place, opening this summer just in time for play. The multi-year renovation project, led by Detroit-based firm ROSSETTI, also included a new show court for the 8,000-seat Grandstand featuring a translucent skin that wraps around the facility. Most notably, two new PTFE retractable roofs now top Armstrong and the 23,771-seat Ashe Stadium where the major matches are held. The flexible roofing systems, which can open and close in five to seven minutes, now allow games to go on rain or shine.
Placeholder Alt Text

Check out these eight unmatched tennis courts from around the world

Tennis courts may be universally designed in the same way, but their topographic location can change the entire look and feel of playing the great game. In honor of the US Open, we’ve rounded up some of the world’s most architecturally impressive courts. From the ever-imaginative buildings within the United Arab Emirates to the secret spaces of Paris, these amazing athletic facilities placed in unbelievable settings feature inspired designs that date from present day, all the way back to the late 19th century. Take a scroll and let your sporty side roam around the globe with these ace spaces: The Couch, Amsterdam, The Netherlands The IJburg Tennis Club near Amsterdam houses 10 clay courts, a tennis school, and a temporary communal building with integrated rooftop seating designed by Dutch firm MVRDV. Acting as a giant piece of street furniture, the red-sprayed concrete structure features a curvaceous roof that dips down towards ground level on the south side, while the north side rises 23 feet high, allowing for bleacher-like seating overlooking the courts. The wood-clad interior boasts ample natural light thanks to wide glass that spans the front and south sides of the building. Burj Al Arab Tennis Court, Dubai, U.A.E. Twelve years ago, Andre Agassi and Roger Federer held an exhibition on the helipad of the Burj Al Arab, the third tallest hotel in the world. Designed by Tom Wright of WKK Architects, the structure stands like the sail of a ship at 1,053 feet tall. The helipad covers 4,467 square feet of space and a grass court was laid out across it for this one-time match. Since its completion, the site has been home to other iconic sports moments: Golfers Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy teed off of the helipad in separate years while Formula One racecar driver David Coulthard performed donuts on the surface in 2013. Dubai could also soon build the world’s first underwater tennis complex off its coast in the Persian Gulf, a vision by Polish architect Krzysztof Kotala, founder of 8+8 Studio. La Cavalerie Tennis Club, Paris Set on the sixth floor of an art deco building with an Aston Martin dealership at its base, this hidden tennis club sports weathered wood paneling and a dramatic, honeycomb-style arched roof. The building itself, designed by famous French architect R. Farradèche in 1924, includes a close-up view of the Eiffel Tower which can be seen from the balconies of the club.  The hard court was established as a national monument in 1986 and features 1,400 pieces of wood that shape the parabolic interior design.   Astor Courts, Rhinebeck, New York This private tennis pavilion is situated within the historic upstate guesthouse and casino of John Jacob Astor IV. Designed in 1902 by Stanford White, the indoor and outdoor sports complex included squash courts, a bowling alley, a shooting range, and an indoor swimming pool. It was designed in the style of the Grand Trianon, a château found at Versailles in France. After being purchased by its current owner in 2003 for over $3 million, PBDW Architects rehabilitated the 20,000-square-foot mansion where Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky were married in 2010. Infinity Court, Los Angeles, California Located at the John Lautner-designed Sheats-Goldstein House, this seemingly floating tennis court provides spectacular, sweeping views of Los Angeles. The house is currently owned by the colorful real estate investor, NBA lover, and fashion designer James Goldstein and was recently acquired by the L.A. County Museum of Art as its first-ever architectural acquisition. When Goldstein bought the property in 1972, he began working with Lautner on several updates and additions to the house. The on-site, infinity-edge court was designed atop a three-level entertainment complex built in collaboration with Lautner’s colleague. It features a glass partition barely visible from the other side of the outdoor space. Tennis Courts at the SLS Lux, Miami, Florida Arquitectonica’s design for the just-completed SLS Lux Brickell Hotel and Residences in South Beach includes a multi-use sports center atop the ninth floor of the 57-story tower. Tennis courts, a rock climbing wall, as well as spaces for volleyball, basketball, and more, allow the residents of the building’s 450 luxury condos, 12 penthouses, and 84 hotel rooms an opportunity for ample play. The base of the building features a colorful, 40,000-square-foot mural on its exterior by Fabian Burgos, a world-renowned Argentinian artist who creates optical designs for architecture. Vanderbilt Tennis and Fitness Club, New York City, New York Since the 1960s, a secret has existed within the walls of New York’s famed Grand Central Terminal: It houses a secluded tennis club. For over ten years, city dwellers could pay to play at the original Vanderbilt Athletic Club, founded by Hungarian athlete and refugee Geza Gazdag. The club housed two clay courts and a 65-foot indoor ski slope built on the third-floor Annex of the train depot. Since Gazdag was priced out of his lease, the coveted piece of real estate began a fraught history of ownership. Donald Trump took it over for three decades, turning it into an elite club for the city’s wealthiest tennis fans. Once his lease ran out in 2009, the space became a lounge for the Metropolitan Transit Authority and new courts were built on the fourth floor where current owner Anthony Scholnick manages the facility.
Placeholder Alt Text

Michael Graves and Landscape Forms create a new “courtscape” for the US Open

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the US Open, Michael Graves Architecture & Design (MGA&D) teamed up with Landscape Forms to redesign the courtside furniture that takes center stage during the upcoming two-week tournament. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) unveiled its sleek new “courtscape” earlier this week at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadow, Queens.   The new furniture, a collection featuring seating for the players, umpires, and line judges, as well as a “cooler corral,” is part of the US Open’s major rebranding effort. Not only were the designs created to maximize ease of use for those on the court, they speak to the organization’s goal of making a modern, iconic look for the tournament and its New York location. Before crafting the collection, MGA&D met with everyone involved in the US Open from players to officials, fans, sponsors, broadcast partners, and tech crews. Through their research, the design team concluded that the furniture must address three primary goals: visibility, usability, and functionality. As inspiration for the design, they took nods from the landscape of New York City such as its park benches (seen in the player’s seating) and the cantilevered balconies found on buildings (seen on the umpire stand). MGA&D used virtual reality technology to help USTA stakeholders realize their vision. The team then worked with Michigan-based Landscape Forms, who specializes in high-design site furniture and advanced LED lighting, on the engineering and manufacturing of the collection. The group’s custom division, Studio 431, created seating products with thin profiles and graceful curves using perforated steel and aluminum surfaces as the primary materials. These lightweight but durable products are now prominently featured on four of the show courts at the tennis center in Queens. Donald Strum, MGA&D principal of product design, helped lead the project. He said this unique opportunity to create a courtscape for the USTA was one of the most satisfying projects he’s ever worked on. “Seating should express utility, be comfortable, and carry a beautiful personality as well,” said Strum in a statement. “The various performance requirements of this collection made the project endlessly fascinating.” All the courts at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center will be outfitted with the new furniture next year ahead of the 2019 championship.  
Placeholder Alt Text

Fabric screen connects tennis stadium to surrounding park

facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from
Located adjacent to the New York State Pavilion—the host of the 1964 World's Fair—the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center hosts the annual US Open Tournament, one of the oldest tennis championships in the world. In an effort to better utilize the sports campus, Detroit-based ROSSETTI developed a master plan to move the Grandstand Stadium to a far corner of the grounds. The relocation expanded USTA's leasable land into Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
  • Facade Manufacturer Birdair
  • Architects ROSSETTI
  • Facade Installer Birdair
  • Facade Consultants Birdair; WSP (structural engineer)
  • Location Queens, NY
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System steel frame with PTFE fabric
  • Products custom made PTFE fabric
To mediate between this historic park setting and the tennis campus, ROSSETTI designed a unique exterior skin pattern that metaphorically evokes the translucency of leafy tree canopies and the twisting dynamics of the tennis serve. The material selected, a Teflon-coated fiberglass membrane, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)­, is typically used for roofing applications but in this case, a woven version allows for a more translucent breathable effect. The facade assembly is composed of 486 panels, totaling over 26,000 square feet, that fasten to a cable structure with parametric geometry. The system was designed with computational solver software to streamline design and constructability, ultimately saving an enormous amount of time and money in the project. Matt Taylor, design lead at ROSSETTI, said that early on in the design process, the team tried to mimic the faceted geometry of the structure, by ultimately ended up with a curvilinear form: "Even though this was a very complex facade, we had to simplify it to a point where it was repeatable, structurally feasible, and that the detailing could be economic enough to stay within budget." Pierre Roberson, a technical designer at ROSSETTI, led the effort to optimize and simplify detailing of the system. He said the structure of the building was not symmetrical but rather based on spline geometry with an infinite number of radii, and that the key to optimizing the facade was about producing a series of modular components that approximated the perimeter shape. Roberson split the spline of the ring beams into 16 equal segments, finding optimal radii for each segment. After optimizing the beam geometry, Roberson used Galapagos, a parametric tool in Grasshopper3d, to find an ideal strut length from over 1,000 of the individual panel supports. This process standardized the length and angle of the facade strut geometry, which allowed the team to provide models for the shop fabricators, who were able to attach connection points to the ring beams at the same angle. Early on in the process, working with PTFE manufacturer Birdair, ROSSETTI mocked up details using PVC pipes and in-house 3d-printed connection components to test and resolve details in full scale. This became a transportable design, presentation, and technical tool that allowed the connection between the PTFE panel and the steel strut to evolve into an elegant functional expression. Taylor said the mockups led to design changes through a collaborative process between the architect and manufacturer. "Birdair was great to work with—they were up to the challenge of this design." The actual fabric shapes were directed by Birdair’s dimensional and formal requirements. For example, a doubly-curved surface geometry is easier to tension than a standard planar surface. Also, by maintaining a specific dimension of 5-by-10 feet avoided the visual clutter of seams running through the panels. "We could have specified a large panel size and worked a secondary seam pattern onto the panels, but we thought this was a much more elegant solution," said Taylor, adding, "there's something really nice about the pedestrian scale of the panels."
Placeholder Alt Text

Arthur Ashe Stadium’s new PTFE retractable roof can open or close in just six minutes

Arthur Ashe Stadium at the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens recently unveiled its new retractable roof as well as numerous changes and additions to the tennis complex. Finished in time for this year’s U.S. Open, the roof and master planning of the rejuvenated site was served up by Detroit-based firm Rossetti.

Spanning 236,600 feet, the polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) waterproof roof primarily will be used to cover the court during periods of rainfall and is able to open or close in under six minutes. USTA executive director and chief operating officer Gordon Smith said it “remains to be seen” if the roof will be used as a shading device, later adding that the USTA’s “overriding goal is to be an open court tournament at all times.”

To counter water run-off issues, a 15-foot-wide and 4-foot-deep metal gutter traces the structure’s perimeter. Meanwhile, an attached power unit will aid temperature regulation and run the roof’s opening and closing system.

The new Grandstand stadium was built as part of the site’s master plan. The new 8,000 capacity venue uses a PTFE skin to form a partial bowl around the arena, intended to emulate the foliage of the stadium’s surrounding greenery. For more information on this development, see our full article here.

Arthur Ashe Stadium Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, NY Tel: 718-760-6200 Architect and engineers: Rossetti
Placeholder Alt Text

Come rain or shine, tennis will be played at this year’s U.S. Open

The Arthur Ashe Stadium at the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens today unveiled its new retractable roof as well as numerous changes and additions to the tennis complex. Finished in time for this year's US Open on August 29, the roof and masterplanning of the rejuvenated site was served up by Detroit-based firm Rossetti. In 2009, the USTA was pessimistic of constructing a roof over the stadium. They argued it was hard to justify spending such money on a stadium that was used for only a few weeks a year when the organization's primary aim was promoting tennis at the grass-roots level. Now, however, in light of Rossetti's much less costly $100,000 solution the organization has changed its tune.

A photo posted by @usopen on

Spanning 236,600 feet, the Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) weatherproof roof will be primarily used to cover the court during periods of rainfall. USTA Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Gordon Smith said it "remains to be seen" if the roof will be used as a shading device, though later commented that the USTA's "overriding goal is to be an open court tournament at all times." At the unveiling, Smith and Matt Rossetti of Rossetti boasted of how the roof can open or close in under six minutes. This was put to the test only moments later with the roof being fully closed in five minutes and 22 seconds (under this author's watch). Once complete, there was a marked difference in both light and temperature. No longer necessary to squint, the PTFE significantly reduced sunlight glare while also drastically cooling the arena. The reopening however, wasn't quite as smooth. At the third time of asking after Billie Jeane-King beckoned: "Let there be light, again!" the roof finally opened in swift fashion. Smith later used this as a springboard to inform the audience of how the sensory components of the roof require perfect alignment for the structure to move along the track beds that are in place. Courtesy of the engineers on hand, the delay was only a mere ten minutes and Smith was quick to say that the situation of opening and closing in such a quick manner is unlikely to occur - if at all. It's worth noting that the Arthur Ash Stadium, built in 1997, is the largest tennis arena in the world though it was never designed to have a roof of any kind placed on it. Now though, it is part of an elite group of of a handful of tennis stadia worldwide that can boast a retractable roof, third on the Grand Slam tour to the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne and Center Court at the Wimbledon Championships in London. Here, the roof takes a minimum of ten minutes to be fully deployed; conditions are ready for play around a further 20 minutes after. This added delay is mostly due to the fact that Wimbledon uses grass tennis courts in which moisture in the soil can lead to an increase in humidity when the roof is closed, making the ball behave differently. Explaining this to AN, Matt Rossetti pointed out how the U.S. Open uses a hard court system which negates this effect. Play would be able to get underway much more quickly with players barely noticing a difference. Rossetti also responded to questions from AN regarding the new problems a roof would create such as water run-off and climate control. In response to this, Rossetti identified the large metal guttering that traces the perimeter of the roofscape. 15 feet wide and four foot deep, Rossetti recalled how he reacted with shock to the design requirement. "We said no way, something's got to be wrong!" Rossetti exclaimed regarding the results of the calculations that stipulated such monumental guttering. In terms of maintaining a constant climate, Rossetti also noted the large power unit nearby which will power the the roof system as well as act as a chiller for the space. The roof isn't the only change going on at Flushing Meadows either. Part of a masterplan from Rossetti, a new Grandstand stadium has been built, replacing the old venue which was famed for its intimate environment. Rossetti iterated how this intimacy has been maintained as a key component of the new stadium's design. Sunk into the ground, the new 8,000-seat venue uses a PTFE skin to form partial bowl around the arena. Set against the edge of the nearby Flushing Meadows park, the bowl, which is perforated and broken down into segments, aims to imitate "the view through the foliage" in a similar fashion to the adjacent trees. The tectonic structure secures the 486 panels through a "cable structure with parametric geometry" while also mimicking the "branches" of the surrounding greenery. In addition to this, all the courts have seen an increase in capacity while the smaller courts have been pushed slightly south to free up circulation and facilitate the increase in visitors. Though the proposed landscaping isn't quite yet all in place, Rossetti said the esplanade to the north of the grand stand is a "phenomenal place to be."
Placeholder Alt Text

Archtober Building of the Day 21> Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning by GLUCK+

Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning Crotona Park, the Bronx GLUCK+ Today’s Archtober Building of the Day tour of the Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning in the Bronx offered a close-up view of GLUCK+’s construction process. The firm works in the architect-led design-build model, in which the architect also serves as the project’s general contractor. Our group of inquisitive participants asked GLUCK+ Principal Marc Gee about how this process works, from the company’s insurance requirements to day-to-day life in the office. According to Gee, the system works because “architects are able to think on their feet in terms of design, not just the project’s bottom line.” The bottom line, of course, is also very important. This project was a public-private partnership between New York Junior Tennis & Learning (NYJTL), an after-school and summer program that offers free tennis lessons, mentoring, and leadership workshops to local youth, and the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation. Because it was an open-book contract, GLUCK+ worked closely with the client to adjust the plan as the budget allowed, such as substituting bluestone for the less expensive brick that had originally been planned for the building’s core. In the end, the project came in $2,000 below the guaranteed maximum price. There were a few hiccups along the way. The design of a poured-concrete stairway was not completed until after the building’s windows had been put into place, and then there was only an inch-and-a-half of clearance to get it inside. Now that it has been installed, though, you’d never know what a headache the staircase caused. Brand-new colorful tennis balls fill in for plantings or a fountain that we might expect to see at the bottom of the stairs. For every GLUCK+ project, someone from the firm is on-site throughout the construction process, on hand to deal with any problems that might arise. After all, “there’s no one who can look at a set of drawings better than the person who drew them,” Gee said. Archtober-ites will head to the Lower East Side bright and early tomorrow to tour PBDW Architects’ renovation of the  Educational Alliance by PBDW Architects. Julia Cohen is the Archtober Coordinator at the Center for Architecture.
Placeholder Alt Text

Archtober Building of the Day #5> Sportime/John McEnroe Tennis Academy

Archtober Building of the Day #5 Sportime/John McEnroe Tennis Academy One Randall's Island RZAPS - Ricardo Zurita Architecture & Planning, P.C. Archtober enthusiasts ventured to Randall’s Island—many of us for the very first time—to visit Sportime/John McEnroe Tennis Academy, a tennis facility, designed by Ricardo Zurita Architecture and Planning, that includes 20 courts, a clubhouse, and a stadium on less than four acres. As the architect of the master plan for Randall’s Island, Ricardo Zurita offered a quick history lesson at the start of the tour. Once a center for social service facilities, the island remains home to two psychiatric hospitals, a fire academy, and a water treatment plant, in addition to more than 400 acres of parkland. Zurita admitted to calling it Rikers Island once early in his career, perhaps to quell our embarrassment at leaving it off of the first three Archtober maps. The fieldhouse is composed of six pre-engineered units by Butler Manufacturing that were cleverly altered to suit the space’s needs. An offset of a mere six degrees between the clubhouse unit and the five interior courts breaks up the structure and creates a viewing plane within the space. What might have been a dark and narrow corridor linking the public clubhouse area to administrative offices becomes an airy mezzanine space perfect for observing the action on the courts below. Although the structure is made up of six nearly identical units, the clubhouse space is visually set off from the courts by its slight angle, as well as the zippy green of its exterior.  The section of the building that houses playing courts is painted in light blue, with seemingly random pale green stripes that, in fact, map the motion of a tennis ball as it bounces. The other three groups of five courts each are available for outdoor play part of the year. Starting in October, they are enclosed by giant inflated bubbles connected to the angular building. Zurita commented, “I always like that juxtaposition of the white soft fabric against the bright green geometric structure.” A flexible setup for the exhibition court provides stadium seating and terraces for viewing. Julia Cohen is the Archtober Coordinator at the Center for Architecture.
Placeholder Alt Text

Unveiled> A Grimshaw-Designed Garden Vision for Wimbledon

The All England Club has unveiled its Grimshaw-designed Wimbledon Master Plan, which establishes a vision for the future of the site and a structure to direct the ongoing development and improvement of the Club. The Master Plan draws on existing assets and reflects the history of The Championships while resolving certain challenges that the site presents. Three new grass courts will be repositioned to ease overcrowding, No. 1 Court will be reworked and a fresh landscape scheme will enhance and define public areas. Key objectives include reinforcing Wimbledon as a world-class sporting venue of national and international significance, conserving the site’s exclusive legacy and guaranteeing that all new building is of first-class quality. To accomplish this, the Master Plan resolves chief operational concerns and develops effective transport solutions. Plans for the site incorporate a reduced-height Indoor Courts Building within an improved landscaped setting. The courts will sit atop basement areas for courtesy car operation, clay courts will be repositioned and a tunnel will ensure discreet access to the new building. A fixed and retractable roof is on the agenda for No. 1 Court, which will allow for continuous play, rain or shine. As for No. 2 and 3 Courts, each will offer more space for unreserved seating and access between the improved grass courts will be widened. Revamped landscaping will bolster the tree-lined boulevard leading to a new entrance plaza. The Master Plan calls for an additional plaza to the south and a press lawn. The southern entrance will also be extended. A new restaurant and public concessions will accompany a sustainable green roof. The plan aims to decrease carbon emissions from the grounds. The Master Plan emphasizes the ‘Tennis in an English Garden’ theme through a series of unique areas set within a cohesive landscape framework.
Placeholder Alt Text

Tennis Architecture from Newport to the Bronx

Teddy Roosevelt once remarked on the commercialization of sports: "When money comes in at the gate, the game goes out the window." With Wimbledon in high gear and tennis at the Olympics looming, tennis is getting more than its share of commercial attention lately. Just last month the United States Tennis Association announced it would spend a half billion dollars to upgrade the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Queens, where the U.S. Open is played. The project is linked to the $3 billion Willets Point project. The unabashedly commercial enterprise is somewhat countered by a decidedly democratic project well underway at Crotona Park in the Bronx. There, the nonprofit New York Junior Tennis League, founded by the late Arthur Ashe, and the Parks Department are midway through completing a $22 million international tennis center designed by Peter Gluck and Partners. The Bronx and Queens projects are graphic examples of how a historically exclusive sport has become populist. Nevertheless, McKim, Mead and White's lawn tennis clubs, like the Germantown Cricket Club in Philadelphia, still court old-school patrons with club rooms for bridge and a menu featuring turtle soup. And Dattner Architects' designs for Cordish Family Pavilion at Princeton University brings its own brand of up-to-date elegance back to the game. Regardless of the project, whether its big business in Queens, public/private in the Bronx, private in Princeton, or very private in Philadelphia, tennis architecture seems to have always found a way to allow money in at the gate.
Placeholder Alt Text

Change At Wimbledon

There's a feeling of drastic change this year at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, home to the Wimbledon tennis tournament. Don't worry, the players are still wearing all white and bowing and curtsying to the Queen. But when one looks upward from Centre Court they'll see a new translucent, retractable roof, meant to keep away the rain that inevitably delays the matches every year. Designed to close in about ten minutes, the new roof , designed by Populous (formerly HOK Sport; they switched names a few months ago) is constructed of tensile Tenara fabric, which unfolds, accordion-style, across the ceiling. Held up by roof trusses,  the fabric has a 40% translucency that lets light penetrate and—vitally— reach the grass below. Working with a system that immediately removes humidity when the roof closes, it seems to be working well. But some wonder if it's really the same tournament without all the sogginess and with all the high-tech gimmickry. Especially at a place best known for its resistance to change. We don't know, but we'll be happy to check it out! Anyone? Anyone?
Placeholder Alt Text

Grand (Central) Slam for MTA

Donald Trump’s Grand Central Tennis Club may see its last baller this spring. According to the Daily News, the tony courts, long frequented by politicians, celebrities, and tennis pros, will be closed to make way for a new rest area for Metro-North conductors and train engineers. Trump has leased the space from Metro-North for 30 years, paying $4 a square foot, about 4% of the average Grand Central going rate.

The courts, above Vanderbilt Hall on the third floor of the terminal, are in a once-unoccupied attic area that allegedly served as a ballroom until it was converted to CBS broadcast facilities in the late 1930s. (The first episodes of “What’s My Line?” and Edward R. Murrow’s “See It Now” were broadcast there.) In 1965, Hungarian immigrant Geza A. Gazdag founded Vanderbilt Athletic Club in the space, building two courts on the former soundstage and converting the broadcast studio to a lounge. A year later, he put in a 65-foot indoor ski slope next to the courts.

After it changed owners in 1970, the club underwent a $100,000 Dorothy Draper redecoration. Though some reports indicate the commuter railroad could open a new tennis club that would earn several times what Trump has paid, it remains to be seen if the new employee lounge, to be equipped with bunk beds, lockers and showers, will retain any of Draper’s modern baroque stylings.