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40 540 Architecture of Sports: City of Courts

Full course name in English: 
Architecture of Sports: City of Courts
40 540
Syklus 2
2021 Høst
2021 Høst
Maksimum antall studenter: 
Thomas McQuillan
Om emnet

Play is an essential feature of humanity, and sport formalizes this play in a social space. This series of courses is an examination of the spatial and architectural features of sport. 

Sport is a central aspect of our society, as it has been for millennia. Both the ancient Egyptians and Greeks afforded a prominent place to sport, and throughout history, it has provided a space for both participation and spectatorship. From the most casual of games to the cutthroat world of professional sports, it provides its participants with excitement, confrontation, competition and personal challenge. For the fall 2021 semester, the topic is tennis. 

Tennis has a long history, and one intimately connected to architecture. Its early form took place in the monasteries of France, in the 1300’s, and developed in the cloisters or courtyard, which has given us the concept of a ‘court’. These courts became enclosed areas dedicated exclusively to the sport, such as the court at Falkland Castle from 1539. Throughout the 17th century, indoor courts proliferated across Europe. By the end of the 19th century, the game underwent another innovation in the form of lawn tennis, which gives us the form of the sport we know today. 

This course is an exploration of the spatial and architectural features of tennis as a basis for designing tennis facilities today. Initial research will focus on spatio-historical case studies through models and drawing. The project task will be the design of a tennis facility in Oslo. 


Primary Learning Outcome
- Ability to employ architectural research as a basis for original designs

Subsidary Learning Outcomes
- How to do basic research into a topic
- How city, sport and architecture interact
- How to communicate findings and designs
- Experience with the architecture of tennis

Praktisk organisering og arbeidsmåter

The course consists of two activities: a series of lectures by architects, athletes and historians, and weekly reviews of progress. Our studies will lead us from the urban scale  (e.g. 1:5.000) to the development of architectural space at 1:200. 

This course is intended as an in-person arrangement, but activities can when needed be moved to the internet. Attendance at all activities is essential. 


An extensive list of literature on the topic is under preparation and will be available at course start. The following are general references on tennis. 

Bondt, Cees de. 2006. Royal tennis in Renaissance Italy. Turnhout: Brepols.

Gillmeister, Heiner. 2017. Tennis: a cultural history. Bristol, CT: Equinox Publishing.

Phillips, Rowan Ricardo. 2020. The circuit: a tennis odyssey.  New York: Picador.

Wilson, Elizabeth. 2016. Love Game A History of Tennis, from Victorian Pastime to Global Phenomenon. University of Chicago Press.

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