A Low-cost answer to a fencing specific venue
  • 18 pistes for a build cost of 250,000
  • The same ground area as two tennis courts
  • A venue for training
  • A venue for competitions
  • A venue for gala finals

  • The Challenge
    • To create a structure specifically designed for fencing training and competition only.

    • To create an economic advantage from the relatively small cubic area of space and the small amount of head room needed for fencing.

    • To create a unit that can be incorporated into a new sports complex or which could be an add-on to an existing sports business. The participants would share the utilities (changing rooms, toilets, shop, administration and club house) with the existing club or complex.

    The Design
    The design is based around a fencing piste module.

    A simple unclad steel frame provides the basic structure onto which elements are connected.

    The design centres around an open courtyard overlooked by three interlinking mezzanine floors which is topped by an upper floor.

    There would be four pistes at ground level, three on each mezzanine balcony floor arranged around three sides of the building, and five pistes on the upper floor.

    This total layout uses approximately the same area as two tennis courts (maximum 900 square metres) yet it has a total of18 pistes.

    The structure is totally steel, unclad to reduce cost. The load bearing for all floors above the ground are borne by 4 beams positioned around the the central courtyard.

    The whole internal structure is entirely self-supporting, is capped by industrial warehousing.

    Internal Features
    The metallic pistes and electronic scoring apparatus would be all integral with the building structure.

    All electrics trunking for heating, ventilation and lighting would be on-view.

    The staircasing, trunking, steel structure and separate mezzanine floors could be painted in striking colours to dynamic effect.

    Electrical power and lighting for individual pistes could be isolated and controlled at a central management area to allow for individual hiring by time.

    The three interlinking mezzanine floors create a vast viewing area for the final tableau held on a central raised piste. The railings on the mezzanine floors (not shown in the diagram) would have clear plastic sheet between the supports for safety and visibility.

    The area below the lower mezzanine floor on the ground floor would be used for open storage of seating, the display piste, and a small armoury.

    External Appearance and Atmosphere
    The building's external industrial cladding would give the opportunity to apply external graphic elements.

    The north facing wall could be finished in glass exposing the action to the outside world.

    The overall appearance would be very dynamic, and the energy created by the theatre in the round would be exceptional.

    The images of the structure in use could go a long way to modernise the image of fencing.

    Cost Benefits
    Because of the narrow span and steel manufacture the floors could be comparatively thin, thus keeping the total height of the building down to under 20 metres.

    The three interlinking mezzanine floors make maximum use of the low head room required.

    The construction costs of this modular design are very low. A simply constructed building with industrial finishing keeps costs down.

    The build price of the structure is estimated at below 250,000.

    The Future
    Once the prototype has been proven and the economic benefits established the structure could be simply reproduced and used as the basis for regional centres of excellence.

    Is there a sports centre or sports business near you which has room for an add-on fencing centre?

    Could you or your county get a business plan together and make a proposal?

    I would like to hear from anyone who is interested in collaboration or has any comments on the concept.
    Please e-mail me at:
    or phone me on: 00(44) (0)20 8946 0265

    Terence Kingston