Job search
Job Search

Mike Hall

FaulknerBrowns Architects’ Mike Hall reflects on the making of a medal factory and the implications for sport in the UK

by Mike Hall, FaulknerBrowns Architects | Published in Sports Management Jan Feb 2017 issue 129
Read on turning pages | Download PDF of this issue
The successful National Cycling Centre has been dubbed the ‘medal factory’
The successful National Cycling Centre has been dubbed the ‘medal factory’

The performance of our GB Olympians and Paralympians in Rio was nothing short of astounding. Clearly much has to be attributed to the commitment and determination of the athletes and the essential support and funding from UK Sport throughout the Olympic cycle, but how important has the role of facilities been in this success?

I take pride in the fact that almost half the medalling Olympians based their training at facilities designed by FaulknerBrowns. These include EIS Sheffield, Lee Valley White Water Centre, Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy and The National Cycling Centre, Manchester.

The medal factory
The latter has even been dubbed the ‘medal factory’, such is the facility’s success year-on-year in producing winning athletes. The analogy used here is an interesting one to explore.
Typically, when we think of the term ‘factory’ we imagine a building that receives raw materials and applies a controlled sequence of processes to create an end product. Experts in white coats analyse the process to search for incremental improvements and innovations that provide further efficiencies.

Specialist expertise
If we substitute the term ‘raw materials’ for ‘talented medal prospects’, and apply a dedicated four year training process, then the end products we achieve are medal winners. As with the industrial analogy, the role of specialist expertise in the search for incremental improvement has proven key to the success of Britain’s athletes.

This is evident in the design of our ‘medal factories’. The sawtooth roof at EIS Sheffield, which nods to the industrial aesthetic of the Don Valley, may give it the appearance of a factory; however, it’s the innovation inside that makes the difference. This facility, and others like it, were built with attention paid to the needs of athletes, the fields of play and supporting areas such as sports science.

Inherent in these designs is the flexibility to accommodate technological advances and changes in training approach, as our understanding evolves.

It’s easy to get carried away when we talk about sports factories and the success of our athletes, but it’s also important to consider how this fits with the Sporting Futures strategy and a more holistic view of community sport and wellbeing.

Community use
The reality is that even the hardest working factories for sport have significant amounts of community usage. The secret lies in formulating an approach which allows for the needs of both to be met, with the flexibility to allow different skill bases to coexist in the same building.

While this formula is forever being refined, we have two major facilities opening soon which embody this synergy – the National Indoor Arena in Dublin and Sportcampus Zuiderpark in The Hague. Both are a major base for performance sport and it will be interesting to see if the Dutch and Irish enjoy similar success.

Just like a factory owner, as an industry we must challenge our understanding of the product we produce, to develop innovations that can bring tangible benefits.

Mike Hall is a partner at architecture practice FaulknerBrowns.

www.faulknerbrowns.co.uk

Sign up for FREE ezines & magazines
Sports jobs
Everyone Active
featured job

Swimming Teachers

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive hourly rate
Job location: Nationwide

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Alton, United Kingdom

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Washington, United Kingdom

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: West Lindsey, United Kingdom

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Fleet, United Kingdom

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Rossmore, United Kingdom

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: St Albans, United Kingdom

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Watford, United Kingdom

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Stratford Upon Avon, United Kingdom

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Nuneaton, United Kingdom
recruiting with sports management

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Middlesbrough, United Kingdom

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Spelthorne, United Kingdom

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Dunstable, United Kingdom

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Slough, United Kingdom

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Blandford Forum, United Kingdom

Senior Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £23,894 per annum
Location: Clapham, London, UK

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Plymouth, United Kingdom
recruiting with sports management

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £22,008 per annum
Location: Thornton Heath, UK

Recreation Assistant (Lifeguard)

GLL
Salary: Up to £10.55 per hour
Location: Thornton Heath, UK

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Leicester, United Kingdom

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Blaby, United Kingdom

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Bordon, United Kingdom

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Watford, United Kingdom

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Bishop's Stortford, United Kingdom
training with sports management

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Stroud, United Kingdom

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Chichester, United Kingdom

Duty Manager

Mytime Active
Salary: £19,000 - £22,000 pa
Location: Orpington, UK

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Ashfield, United Kingdom

Duty Manager

Mytime Active
Salary: £19,000 - £22,000 pro-rata plus benefits
Location: West Wickham, UK

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Ealing, United Kingdom

Gymnastics Coach

Everyone Active
Salary: Competitive
Location: Stowmarket, United Kingdom
lifeguard jobs  Swimming Teacher jobs  apprenticeships jobs  recreation assistant jobs  Gymnastics Coach jobs  Swimming Instructor jobs  membership consultant jobs  general manager jobs  General Assistant jobs  duty manager jobs  fitness instructor jobs  Customer Advisor jobs  Leisure Assistant jobs  Aqua Instructor jobs  Attractions Crew jobs 
More jobs

Video Gallery

Myzone
Tracking your workout effort just became effortless.
Visit website
More videos

Company profile

Company profile: Core Health & Fitness
Core Health & Fitness is the world’s largest privately-held marketer and distributor of commercial fitness solutions to health clubs, community recreational centres, hotels, government, educational facilities and more.
View full profile >
More company profiles

Featured Supplier

Hutchison to launch The Studio at ELEVATE
Hutchison Technologies have been creating outstanding experiences for their customers in the health and fitness industry for over 25 years.
View full details >
More featured suppliers

Property & Tenders

Location: New Brighton, Wirral, Merseyside
Company: Wirral Borough Council
Location: Various Sites
Company: Porters Commercial
More properties & tenders

Diary dates

22 May 2019
Lowry Theatre, Salford, United Kingdom
30 May 2019
Rimini Expo Centre, Rimini, Italy
30 May - 02 Jun 2019
Expo Centre & Riviera Di Rimini, Rimini, Italy
31 May - 02 Jun 2019
Bowood House and Gardens, Calne, United Kingdom
More diary dates