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|Location:||West Sussex, United Kingdom|
|Awards:||Civic Trust Award;|
Industrial Fabrics Association International: Outstanding Achievement for Air & Tension Structures.
Goodwood Racecourse is a sporting and cultural institution, set within the South Downs National Park. The pre-and post-race ceremony of parading horses and riders has become almost as important as the race itself - particularly true at Goodwood where much of the course steers the action away towards distant woodland.
When we were invited to design a new winners' enclosure and parade ring, our priority was to reconnect the racegoing experience to the site’s fine panoramic views of the South Downs. Historic photographs reveal early racegoers enjoying the long view across the Downs, towards the coast and the Isle of Wight beyond. Over time, this view and connections to landscape had been obscured by a string of multi-level, single-aspect grandstands.
Crowned by three fabric canopies, the winners' enclosure and parade ring were unified into a single sunken plateau, framed to the north by a two-tiered range of accommodation. Cast in fine in-situ concrete, the lower level forms a retaining wall to the improved east-west boulevard and houses the jockeys' weighing-in and changing rooms, stewards' offices and media rooms. At the upper level, springing from a timber-decked terrace, are three tensile fabric structures that combine to provide a quintessentially English setting for the festive hospitality.
With each tent centred on a timber and stainless-steel island servery, food, drink and fine views can be enjoyed from within the shelter of the fully glazed enclosures. Below this, extending out to embrace the parade ring, are a series of stone with flint-stepped spectator stands, bordered by neatly clipped box hedges that help unify the deliberately formal composition with the broader, less formal landscape beyond.
In a separate commission we created an additional pavilion to permanently house the champagne bar, sitting at a higher level and extending the existing roof terrace of the Double Trigger restaurant underneath. A combined lift and stair element was added to the neighbouring Charlton Stand, providing improved and dedicated accessibility across its three levels.
This series of light touch interventions ultimately created a unified architectural language for this iconic venue.