Akeley Wood Senior School

A Sports Hall That’s Not Only Suitable For Sport

The challenge

Akeley Wood Senior School were looking to install a new high-spec sports dome as part of a bigger investment in their physical education offering.  The building needed to meet Grade II listed planning regulations and not look out of place in their stunning woodland grounds.


The solution

To design a bespoke sports building that is durable, reliable and combines modern features with a finish that blends elegantly within the school’s natural environment.

Key facts 

  • 36.5m x 18.3m x 9.2m
  • Grade II listed building
  • Green PVC fabric
  • Retractable curtains
  • Glulam Wood
  • Changing & classroom facilities

Project overview

Akeley Wood Senior School wanted to invest in the excellence of their sports facilities to reflect the prominence of physical education at the school.  Previously a historic, private residence, the main building is Grade II listed, situated within acres of beautiful woodland and fields.  The brief to us was to design a heated sports dome that would fit comfortably and aesthetically within this environment including state-of the-art features as would befit a private school.

We developed a structure using sustainable glulam wood and a dark green PVC fabric cover, which complements the surrounding treescape and satisfied strict planning regulations.  Retractable curtains offer stunning views of the main house and allow the indoor space to become an extension of the impressive outdoor playing fields in good weather.  The dome has helped broaden the school’s appeal by facilitating many extra activities such as Badminton, Street Dance, Table Tennis and Strength & Conditioning on top of the traditional curricular sports. 

As well as wanting to expand their sports programme and provide facilities for year round activities, they also wanted a space that could be easily adapted to accommodate other aspects of school life, such as teacher/parent meetings and social events. The brief therefore also included the addition of changing rooms with toilets and a shower, a classroom, offices and a kitchen.

Since installing the sports dome at the senior school, we have subsequently been instructed to design a similar building for their junior school (36.5m x 18m x 9m), which is on a Grade I listed site.