ArchitectureNewsSports Clubs

New Sports Clubhouse – How to Design & Build One? (Part 1)

“Let’s build a new Clubhouse……..!”

It seems such a simple proposal doesn’t it? Numerous sports clubs around the country are fast outgrowing their current facilities and are looking to expand and develop their existing clubhouse with a new building or an extension and remodelling of their existing one, as we have seen first hand with our involvement with Rugby Clubhouse projects.

This not only results in better accommodation but also gives the opportunity of making this facility available to a larger membership, something that both central and local governments are pushing for with their calls for more inclusive sport on various levels.

But where to go from this very simple idea? Sports clubs are often a committee-run operation and function through the hard work and involvement of many within the club structure, often given for free depending on the level of the club. Many of those involved will have no previous experience of building such a facility, or even building at all, yet now face the task of steering through a potentially vital building project.

It is at this fundamental first step where projects can often stand or fall – or worse still just float around the club for years at end just crawling forward with false hope for the players and families. In our experience of this type of development it is key that a dedicated steering committee is formed with the sole purpose of delivering the project to the club and who are responsible for feeding back and gauging overall club opinion when and where necessary.

Too often decisions by large committees result in only one outcome – no decision at all. With the correct people in place with the authority to act for the club such a project can move forward and begin to develop its own momentum relatively simply.

At this time such a steering committee would be best to involve the services of an architectural practice such as ourselves who can help to identify the opportunities afforded to the project by the site or building in question, initially developing simple feasibility plans to help whet the appetite of the larger club membership and also to help identify potential budgets for the construction.

The right architectural practice can also guide you to those external bodies whom may be able to provide funding to them such as through the RFU, FA, Lottery Funding etc. and our experience to date demonstrates that getting this right early on is extremely important. Not only will this help to crystallise the task ahead with regard to fundraising for the build but in early development can help to identify how a new or improved facility may become a contributor itself by developing a sustainable building for the future.

If wished or needed designs can be prepared to allow increased revenue for the club to be generated via the inclusion of gyms, meeting rooms or even cafes which are often needed in newer clubhouses (if only to help with staffing costs). These issues are not often considered within current arrangements of what maybe a old and well-loved but failing building opened on an-as-and-when nature.

Please contact Stuart Ware who is currently involved with the new Clubhouse for ORRFC should you wish to see how your own project could be taken further – and hopefully into reality.