Perry Arena, Dey Street, Hamilton.

By Graham Hepburn

When Waikato Tennis decided to build an international-standard indoor tennis centre, it soon became apparent an ‘off the shelf’ building was not going to work.
After rejecting a shed-like proposal from a design and build company that came in over budget, Waikato Tennis approached SEKTA Architects & Project Managers.
“I think they realised that they wanted to create something that sets the scene for the development and catches the eye,” says Stan Kingma, director of SEKTA.
“So they approached me and Holmes Consulting  engineers to come up with something that was better looking and within budget.”
The design needed to provide the most economical way of enclosing three tennis courts while maintaining a modern, stylish aesthetic on the site adjacent to the Waikato Tennis’ outdoor courts at Lugton Park. The complex also had to be of a standard that would allow Waikato Tennis to bid for and host major tournaments.

Specifications included meeting Davis Cup standards for the ceiling height, distance to the wall from the end of the court, and eliminating interior framed walls and junctions of differing materials. Stan also had to ensure good viewing angles for television cameras.
The building also had to be multi-functional, so that it could be used for other events, displays or conventions. And it had to be future-proofed to allow for expansion at a later date.

“I designed the shape so that the walls are just a continuation of the roof as it curves around and encloses it,” says Stan. “Everyone loved the shape. Visually, it floats above the ground.”

The bays of tilt-up panel doors down either side serve a dual purpose: providing cross ventilation for the building when in use and allowing vehicle access for loading and unloading equipment, displays and seating. Cladding both ends with translucent Alsynite and putting strips of it in the roof allows natural light to flood in, saving huge amounts of money on lighting and electricity. The ends of the building also have louvres high up to aid ventilation.
The curved steel frames - or portals, as Stan calls them – that support the COLORSTEEL® cladding not only look elegant but also allow the building to be extended more easily.
“The portals we came up with were the most efficient way of allowing them to add more courts so that it was relatively easy to extend without having to partially demolish it,” says Stan.“It’s also designed so they can connect into it at stage two when they might add a clubrooms and administration centre.”

While Stan describes the project as “not overly complex because it was so budget-driven”, the New Zealand Institute of Architects liked what it saw. Last year, the Institute honoured the arena with a local award in the Community and Cultural category. The judges said: “‘Iconic building’ and ‘budget-driven’ are two terms that seldom appear together, yet SEKTA Architects have created a landmark with this community-funded project and provided real value for money. The building showcases the architect’s confidence and proves the client’s confidence in the architect!”

Having made a statement with the building, Waikato Tennis didn’t want taggers sullying its smooth, sweeping lines so they installed a graffiti deterrent system. Anyone approaching the walls of the building will trigger motion sensors that activate a sprinkler system that not only washes down the walls making them impossible to paint on, but also gives any would-be tagger a good soaking.

In March last year, the first game of tennis was played at the new $2.5 million complex that now forms part of the Waikato Tennis Centre, which has 25 outdoor courts as well as a pavilion with three squash courts.
Waikato Tennis has a long-term strategy of developing a multi-sports centre that can host events and tournaments for a variety of sports. The completion of the Perry Arena is just the first step in that process.

SEKTA Architects & Project Managers are a small, highly motivated architecture, interior design and project management consultancy whose work is primarily in the commercial, interiors, retail, industrial and sports facility sectors.  They are focused on producing architecture of enduring quality that suits the needs of the end user. They are not bound by a set style or a particular aesthetic, as each building is a result of many variables such as site conditions, urban context and, of course, budget. Architects, though, cannot help but be influenced by their architectural exposure and experiences, and director Stan Kingma says the 11 years he spent in Australia has definitely influenced his work.  Stan started his career as an architectural draughtsman in Hamilton before completing an architecture degree at University of Auckland. While in Australia he also completed a project management degree before returning to New Zealand.  

Architects: SEKTA Architects
Stan Kingma
Telephone: 07 853 2204                                
Structural Engineers:Holmes Consulting
Telephone: 07 856 4849

Project Management/Construction:  Arrow International
Telephone: 07 838 0422

Roofing & Cladding supplied: 
Steel &Tube Roofing
Telephone: 07 850 9200
Profile: Crimp Curve
Colour :Titania                                                      
Roofing Contractor:
Roofing Specialists
Telephone: 07 849 4160