"Is the Centre Court roof the real star of Wimbledon 2012?" - Telegraph
Dezeen Wire: as the sliding roof on Wimbledon's Centre Court was closed today to allow the men's singles final between Andy Murray and Roger Federer to continue despite heavy rain, The Telegraph argues that the Populous-designed cover is the real star of this year's championships.
The Telegraph interviews the lead designer, Rod Sheard, who said: ““Grass is much more delicate than human beings. We can take off our coats or jumpers to cool down. Grass can’t, so if we just put the roof over, it would sweat and turn the court into a skating ring. The air conditioning we put in at Wimbledon is all about the grass, not the crowds.”
The roof was completed in 2009 and cost an estimated £80-£100 million.
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Here's some text from Populous about the roof:
CHALLENGE. Populous are privileged to have been working with the AELTC for a decade now, helping the Club to evolve and stay at the very forefront of Grand Slam tennis. To accommodate increasing visitor levels and give players and members the level of facilities they expect while maintaining the unmistakable atmosphere has required a careful balance of innovation and tradition – nowhere more so than with the retractable roof at Centre Court. The specifics were scientifically demanding, yet the internal environment with a closed roof had to keep the feel of ‘tennis in an English garden’, with players and spectators alike feeling comfortable.
INNOVATION. The hydraulically operated roof measures 65×75 metres and is a ‘folding fabric concertina’ with steel trusses supporting a translucent fabric skin. This skin allows natural light to reach the grass on the court, while an airflow removes condensation from within the bowl. In this way optimum player performance and spectator comfort is maintained and the sense of tradition that pervades the historic 1922 show court remains undisturbed. Beneath the roof, extra rows of seating, new wider seats, lifts and new members facilities enhance the experience even further.
IMPACT. Guaranteeing a schedule of play avoids major disruption to the event programme, which in turn ensures Wimbledon retains its status as the premier Grand Slam tennis event within the tennis calendar, with broadcast coverage of the tournament going out to an audience of millions worldwide.