PAD studio was approached to design the new pavilion building for Canoe Lake Leisure located in Southsea, Portsmouth. Canoe Lake Leisure manage and operate a series of community facilities in Southsea including: 12 world class grass tennis courts which are uniquely accessible by the public on a pay-and-play basis, a series of hard surface tennis courts and Greens Café.
The new pavilion was a philanthropic endeavour and a replacement for the existing clubhouse which was derelict, asbestos-ridden and a target for repeated vandalism – unsafe for public use. The pavilion is the first building to be constructed in this historic part of Southsea for over 60 years, located within a listed park and prominent seafront location in Portsmouth.
The new pavilion is orientated and positioned to address both grass and hard tennis courts on either side of the building and provides a permanent base for the Tennis Club and multi-functioning public building to host a wide range of sports and community classes for all ages throughout the year. This building is intended to be a beacon for tennis and community engagement, representing a truly public facility and part of Canoe Lake Leisure’s substantial regeneration project for Southsea Common.
In design, the ground floor is formed from brick which provides a solid base to the building. Large openings are carved out from the ground floor walls to reveal views into the building and activity on the courts beyond, inviting the community to engage with tennis and the activities within the building.
In contrast, the pavilion’s first floor viewing gallery is designed to be as unobtrusive, transparent and delicate as possible whilst also creating covered outdoor first floor terrace space. Initially, a second floor was difficult to gain planning approval for, due to concerns with mass and scale in this historic setting. With persistence, a scheme with a delicate, slim and lightweight steel butterfly roof floating above the largely glazed first floor was approved, with the architecture directly contributing to reducing the building’s perceived mass and bulk.
The roof of the pavilion has a very thin edge profile and is supported by a galvanized steel frame. There are many carefully designed steel connection and roofing details in the structure, assisted by galvanizing in places, that have enabled the structure to achieve the desired thin edge roof aesthetic and to allow the central gutter to pass through the steelwork.
The entire first floor steel structure was galvanized which is largely cantilevered off the central roof valley beam. The steel columns around the first floor are largely tying the roof to the concrete slab and have been left exposed – these are also galvanized. Many of the rainwater goods elsewhere are also made from galvanized steel, including the bespoke steel rainwater chutes which discharge water drained from the terraces out of the building at ground floor with no visible downpipes or guttering anywhere on the pavilion.
It was important to PAD studio that the building‘s structural and tectonic approach was demonstrated by the pavilion’s form and materiality. Tectonics in architecture is defined as ‘the science or art of construction’, as such, the external galvanizing has been left exposed, complimenting the soft and varied tones of the grey brickwork and adding to the patina of the building.
Images © Richard Chivers
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