Tenniscalator by David Tajchman



Paris architect David Tajchman designed this multi-storey timber tennis centre for a competition organised by a Swedish timber company.


The complex features five floors of courts stacked on top of each other, contained within a timber structure.


The eye-like openings in the structure are inspired by knots in timber.


"My proposal expresses the company's savoir-faire while working on wood at different scales, the wood knots serving as big frames is an example," says Tajchman.


The competition, for Vaxjo in Sweden, was organised by timber company Södra.


The competition was won by Kent Pedersen Arkitektfirma of Denmark.


See our earlier story about Maximum Display, an art gallery designed by David Tajchman.


Here's some more information from Tajchman:


international open architecture competition


The site chosen for the project is large enough to welcome a one-level tennis complex programme. However, a quick analysis of the areas shows the possibility of concentrating everything in almost 10% of the plot area. This concentration in the northern part of the parcel allows the development of a 13652 square meters landscape facing the future built developments. The implementation in the North allows also a proximity with the new car-park shared with Sodra’s Head Office building and to get close with the trees and the lake.


Observing the current situation of Skogsudden, every single construction is surrounded by nature. The tennis facilities project, thanks to its compact character, allows also a large space for nature. Building compact permits environmental advantages such as economies of energies and displacements. Heating, Ventilation, Water, Gaz and Electricity networks are shorter in a vertical setting then in the horizontal one.



Layering tennis courts is aimed to give a landmark character to the proposal. The wooden Totem reaches a height of 58 meters, which is probably the highest building in Växjö. Not too high, nor too flat, this iconic piece of wood is now visible from far, easy to recognize, easier to identify the neighbourhood.


The project makes use of local wood and is an expression of Sodra’ savoir-faire. Wood is used for the structure and the external envelope. The structure is both vertical and horizontal: a wooden laminated mesh with lozenges of variable dimensions stands vertical on the project perimeter while the same structure stands horizontal under each floor. What we see inside the project, what characterizes it, are the big dimensions of this wooden laminated structure. To express the idea of a wood industrial district, the external envelope displays slices of wood in different thickness separated horizontally with a void, reminding the wood drying storage of the industry nearby.



= “natural default in a piece of wood”.
The knots corresponds to big openings in the project’s external envelope. Drawn in different dimensions, they frame views all around the project and offer to tennis players and spectators a look outside. During the night, the building spreads coloured lighting through the knots, appealing the audience.

Observing-Machine, the Tennis project is connected to its environment, giving the possibility of watching a tennis competition and the birds at same time.

place: växjö, sweden
programme: tennis centre
year: september 2009
client: södra
architect: david tajchman
renders: corentin lespagnol
height: 58 m
area: 9000 m2

Posted on Monday December 21st 2009 at 5:34 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • this is hardly functional (at least for tennis), you need at least twice the height proposed to allow for fly-balls (an important facet of defensive tennis).

  • wii

    The competiton blew major arse but this project is making me tear up. Great job!!!

  • kaptnk

    That’s awesome, I really like it.

    Althout rivadandres makes a good point about the court height!
    surely it’d be possible to increase the height for the competition courts. training courts presumably wouldn’t need to take account so much.

  • Peter

    It seems there was nobody involved with actual tennis experience. The shadows on the court would freak every player out.

  • Gustavo Delonero

    o carro não tem motorista!

  • The façade is so similar to this project of Julien de Smedt:

  • rockstar

    Bravo, David Tajchman could be the new Jean Nouvel of this generation!

  • kapa13

    cool stuff, but i agree with rivadandres, not functional at all!! The ligt is very disturb ing….
    You want be able to hit a ball there…..
    hey, but nice facade!!

  • jack

    ball hit ceiling.
    bounce at crazy angles,
    Hit umpire in the face,
    new facet of gameplay…

  • Roger Federer

    This was designed by someone who never used to play tennis.
    Totally ridiculous!

  • Piotr

    Beautiful, but senseless. It breaks almost all of the competition requirements.
    9m headroom was one of them – this one is OK.

  • Raffa

    I agree with Peter and Rog… the lighting is terrible!!

  • josuhua kepapp

    this is a great project, very intellectual, tennis is like timber, timber is like clay , clay is like chocolate, chocolate is like table tennis.bravo
    Would like to more of ur table tennis projects.

  • AngerOfTheNorth

    I think the issue might simply be down to the renderings.

    You get plenty of indoor tennis courts with perfectly good lighting – presumably the guy who created the renderings was trying to create something that look dramatic, not functional, simply to show off the design. I’m sure the lighting within the final building will be fine.

    As for the height, again this might just be a problem with the renders. Have a look at the section – the storey heights look pretty high to me in comparison with the players on the courts.

  • blain

    not practical, the shadows would be very distracting.

  • Raffa
  • cacas

    rivandres is corect in my opinion… no high balls… a big problem.. anyway, a nice plastic.

  • Christopher

    Yeah, relax on the lighting critiques, obviously the renderings aren’t very accurate. I do wonder how they will handle direct sunlight though…

    And for ceiling height, I agree with AngerOfTheNorth, you need to look at the sections to actually understand what’s going on.

    The renderings were just to get some oogling points.

  • pangkcoy

    just not possible playing tennis with this ceiling height…c’mon! common sense dude…no disrespect…

  • Pete Sempras

    Timber structure?

    I don t you know how you could have such a high-rise building that s supposed to host public events (which means heavy loads), with huges spans crossing an entire tennis court, made of timber.

    It really seems like structural non-sense to me.

    And also, how could you have this seamless grid with timber, there must be some plates at the junctions.

    For me it would seem more realistic in steel, with welded profiles, I can t help thinking about H&dM projects such as the birdnest or the prada shop.

    Nice renders though.

  • Graham

    I proposed something similar as a student thesis project in 2001. It was a skyscraper with 20+ courts (designed to LTA standards and north / south axis). The site was in a deprived inner city area – bringing 'elitist' tennis to the underclass, but the tutor thought it was an awful idea and my designs took a different turn.

    I think with a little work and a few tweaks Davids idea could work.