Populous-designed Zhuhai tennis centre completed in time to host WTA trophy
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Populous-designed Zhuhai tennis centre completed in time to host WTA trophy

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Tennis star Venus Williams has claimed her latest high-profile trophy at a tournament in China, just weeks after construction was completed on the host stadium.

Builders raced against the clock to complete the Zhuhai Hengqin International Tennis Centre – designed by global sports architects Populous – and succeeded in finishing the work in time for the venue to host the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Elite Trophy in the first week of November. The entire centre was built in just 12 months.

Andrew James, Populous senior principal, said: “The speed and quality of construction has been very impressive.”

Located on Hengqin Island in the city of Zhuhai, the facilities include a 5,000-capacity centre court, five other match courts and 12 training courts.

The WTA Elite Trophy is classified as an outdoor tournament, which means the temperatures and humidity faced by players has to be the same on the covered and uncovered courts.

Populous – whose previous tennis court designs include Wimbledon Centre Court in London and Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne – overcame this challenge by creating an outer roof that provides weather protection while also allowing filtered sunlight and natural airflow into the arena.

Populous’ project manager, Tiric Chang, said: “We arrived at an elegant, simple, cost effective solution – a cantilevered outer roof over the seating and a circular inner roof over the court, offering protection from the sun, enabling play to continue in wet weather, and allowing gaps for natural ventilation.”

When not being used for competitions, the centre is open to the public and is expected to provide a significant boost to the city’s tourism industry. The complex has been designed to cater for families, and sits within a fully accessible landscaped environment which includes a park and community venue.

Populous, who are headquartered in the US city of Kansas, has lined up a number of high-profile projects in Asia and work will begin in January 2016 on its US$375m (€344m, £243m) redevelopment of Kuala Lumpur Sports City in Malaysia.

Last week, the firm received the leisure-led development award at the 2015 World Architecture Festival in Singapore for their transformation of the London Olympic Stadium.

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Tennis star Venus Williams has claimed her latest high-profile trophy at a tournament in China, just weeks after construction was completed on the host stadium.
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