The new multi-million pound, world-class training facility for Chelsea FC – one of the most ambitious investments undertaken by a football club – has been unveiled. This striking, statement building has been predominantly glazed in high specification curtain walling from Technal.
AFL Architects’ design for the training academy at Cobham in Surrey has provided an inspirational environment for players at every level, that successfully integrates into the green-belt landscape. The campus style building features a curved roof, which drops down to ground level at either end and has a natural living surface to help it blend into the rural surroundings.
Fabricated and installed by Fox Aluminium, Technal’s Trame Horizontale curtain walling was specified for its horizontal emphasis to express the linear aspect of the building. The system was used on three elevations to give the academy an open and spacious feel, and an eye-catching, contemporary design.
On the north and south elevations, the top mullions and pressure plates of the curtain walling were specially curved to follow the dramatic roof line. The system was finished in metallic silver, and glazed in clear solar control glass with fritted panels to conceal the building’s structure and services whilst maintaining a continuous glazed façade. Externally, the horizontal aerofoil caps to the curtain wall were silver, with contrasting black vertical profiles.
The glazing is shielded from solar gain by a series of vertical brise soleil ‘fins’ that are clad in brass panels, which will weather naturally over time. Concealed top hung vents were inserted into the façades to provide natural ventilation where required.
Technal’s GXi sliding aluminium doors were also installed, opening onto the balconies from the managers’ suites and two larger sets provide access onto the players’ terrace.
The new facility features the latest in training, rehabilitation, medical, and pitch technology, and unifies all football training activities at Chelsea. Facilities include the UK’s largest HydroWorx pool, steam and sauna room, spa pool, medical treatment rooms, gym, changing rooms for professional, reserve and academy players, offices and dining rooms.
The height of the building is no taller than any of the buildings in the locality and another distinctive aspect of the design is a reflective moat which allows light into the basement.
As part of its continuous product development programme, Technal has recently launched MX Trame, which uses the same grid system as other design options in the MX curtain walling range. The system allows specifiers to accentuate the vertical or horizontal profiles across the building envelope and can accommodate 6mm to 32mm glazing units, as a flat façade or faceted up to 10º with MX Trame Horizontale.
The GXi sliding window and balcony door is an elegant and robust glazing solution, which has clean, narrow 41mm sight lines and a flush polyamide thermal break for enhanced performance. The GXi profiles can be flat-faced or curved and there is the option of single or dual colours for further design flexibility. Configurations range from a simple two-leaf system to a multi-panel sliding patio door on two tracks.
Client: Chelsea Football Club
Architects: AFL Architects
Main contractors: Dean & Dyball
Structural engineer: SKM Antony Hunt
Quantity surveyor: Hand Deere & Cox
Project manager: Capita Symonds
Glazing fabricator: Fox Aluminium
Façade system: Technal
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