Dutch club opens innovative clubhouse

A 1200 member tennis club has used architectural innovation to create a unique space-saving clubhouse near the heart of the city in Amsterdam.

TCIJburg’s new clubhouse, which is open to members of the public, has a curved roof that doubles up as a viewing gallery and has won praise for its futuristic design and innovative use of space.

Nicknamed “The Couch”, the 36-metre long clubhouse was designed to save on space and combines dressing rooms, storage, catering and lounge areas with a grandstand for spectators to watch matches.

The curved roof of the club, which also boasts views of the water of the Ijssel Lake, doubles up as a spectator platform, seating up to 200 people. The roof dips towards the south side and is raised at the north to create terraced seating. Down below, a wide glass front offers extensive natural light and provides views of the Ijssel Lake.

“When we started the project we figured that it would be a great opportunity to create a clubhouse which would add value” Roy Dackus, the founder of TC IJburg, told TIA UK News.

Developed by architectural firm MVRDV and Studio Bouwkunde alongside structural engineer ABT and contractor Romin Boow, the clubhouse is sealed with a red synthetic coating which matches the club’s 10 clay courts. Inside, the clubhouse’s concrete structure is clad with FSC-certified wood.

“With the Couch, we have integrated sport into society,” said MVRDV co-founder and architect Winy Maas. “By turning the roof of the clubhouse into a tribune, a centre court is created. Here we celebrate the talent of amateur players who are challenged to excel in front of the public.”

Standing on an artificial island in the Ijssel Lake in Amsterdam, Tennis Club IJburg was established in autumn 2008 to provide tennis facilities for the 16,000 residents. Before the new clubhouse was opened, a temporary wooden hut was all that catered for the 1,200 members. Located so close to the centre of Amsterdam, space was at a premium.

“Every inch counts,” explains Dackus. “We didn’t have space for an extra stand, so this is one of the reasons the architect created the tribune integrated in the clubhouse.

“Our initial brief to the architect was that we wanted it to be cosy inside so that all members would feel welcome. But as well as feeling appropriate for small groups, we also wanted it to be suitable for larger groups. We also wanted a viewing gallery.”

The project was part funded by local government and part with a bank loan. Construction started in April 2014 and the clubhouse was completed in August this year. The final cost of the project remains undlsclosed, but Dackus says, as expected, it was more expensive than a less innovatively designed and constructed building. 

“We not only created a clear landmark in the Dutch tennis club scene” Dackus said, “but also a place that members are proud of.”

Picture credits: (c)Daria Scagliola & Stijn Brakkee. For more information go to tennisverenigingijburg.nl and mvrdv.nl

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