Often the question is asked: "Who made the Wimbledon roof?", yet few people seem to know the answer. We like to think that this is because good news doesn't travel as fast as bad news and since its grand opening in 2009, the Wimbledon roof has been kept running smoothly and efficiently by its creators: SCX Special Projects.
Back in 2004, the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) appointed Galliford Try to raise Centre Court’s capacity from 13800 to 15000, installing wider, more comfortable seating and, above all, a new retractable roof. Due to the lack of space around Centre Court, a traditional sliding solid roof would have been unfeasible, so architectural consultants Populous contacted SCX Special Projects to help transform the concept of a concertina-style folding roof into reality.
The design involved ten 100 tonne trusses which would span the 77m width of the court, supporting approximately 5200m2 of roofing membrane, lighting and ventilation equipment. The difficulty was in how to mobilise and control such a huge structure, so SCX Special Projects were called upon to solve the problem. A large number of companies were involved in the final supply chain, providing components for the overall solution, but it was SCX Special Projects that designed, built and installed the complex mechanical 'moving roof' part of the roof!
SCX Special Projects also upgraded the roof in 2011 to provide the maximum range of sunshade positions. Any number of the 10 huge trusses can now be deployed at any time to provide optimum shade or sunshine, dependant on how requirements change with the position of the sun or the whim of the British rainclouds.
SCX Special Projects undertake routine maintenance on the roof throughout the year to ensure the home of British tennis is ready for the next Championships. And every year, SCX Special Projects’ engineers are on hand throughout the tournament to monitor and maintain the roof, ensuring that it continues to operate smoothly and effectively at all times throughout the tournament.
For an indepth look at how the roof mechanism works, see our Wimbledon case study: