A tennis club in Amsterdam, Netherlands, has a novel approach to providing both a clubhouse and bleachers. It has combined the two. The clubhouse at IJburg tennis club is designed in such a way that spectators can climb it and watch matches on the adjacent court.

Designed by Dutch architects MVRDV, "the Couch" covers an area of 322 sq m (3,466 sq ft). As a new build, it is constructed with high thermal mass materials, including FSC-certified wood and concrete, that help to to make it energy efficient. Elsewhere, it is a pretty typical sports facility, save for one feature.

The front, central point of what would otherwise be a flat roof has been pulled down to ground level, with the rear central point stretched upwards to a height of 7 m (23 ft). With steps-cum-terraced seating added, the design provides a means for spectators to ascend the clubhouse and space for up to 200 spectators to view the adjacent court from varying positions and heights.

The outside of the Couch is treated with a spray sealant, which is the same color and texture as the clay tennis courts. This helps it to blend in with its surroundings and appear almost as if it has grown out of the court. A wide glass frontage on the north side of the clubhouse, meanwhile, allows natural lighting into the building and provides views over the IJ-lake.

IJburg tennis club was founded in 2008 and the clubhouse is free to access and open to all. The club has 10 clay courts and a tennis school. IJburg itself is a new district to the east of Amsterdam comprising six artificial islands. Earlier this year it hosted the UrbanCampsite exhibition of small rentable shelters.

Construction of the Couch started in April 2014 and the building has only recently been completed.

Source: MVRDV

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