The show court regularly attracts near capacity spectators for both Netball and Basketball.

Working closely with the university and the Colchester planning Dept, Clague designed the Essex Arena at the Wivenhoe Campus Colchester. Clague later assisted Kier Construction in the building of the arena to ensure a high-quality facility suitable for staging televised sporting events. With a capacity of more 1,600 spectators and covering over 3,600m2, the arena is a prime example of innovate and bespoke design in delivering sport and education under one roof.

The new building has provided a new home for the School of Sports Rehabilitation & Exercise Science, which will train the next generation of coaches and practitioners by co-locating academics and researchers alongside high-quality sports facilities.

A planning precedent at the University of East Anglia for a building using cladding panels in a historic parkland was put forward and helped secure our planning permission for the use of this product.

During the design process, local planners initially timber cladding to the main facades as the arena sits within the 200-acre historic parkland of Wivenhoe Park, close to the Grade II listed Wivenhoe Manor, two miles from the city centre. The original proposal for the timber cladding wasn’t in keeping with the brief or the wishes of the university, and from a facilities management perspective it would require regular and significant maintenance.

Taking the inspiration from Wivenhoe Manor’s and the existing sports buildings terracotta brickwork, we successfully persuaded local planners to accept a bespoke bronze horizontal cladding panel on the outside of the arena. Reference was also made to the Tower blocks of student halls built in the 1950’5 with Blue engineering bricks.

The result is a building that makes a strong visual statement of the University’s commitment to having a campus of international standard, and facilities for its students, staff and community.

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