Press Report of Raju Chainani 1985

 

The all-glass revolution

Sportsweek 20-2-1985                                                             By Raju Chainani

NOT so many moons ago, squash had very limited spectator appeal. The handful of dedicated followers knew the dramatis personae intimately. A reasonable crowd was about the 25-30 mark.

It's a different story today. We saw the glass back wall drawing in around 400 spectators. Hunt, Barrington and Zaman played many memorable matches on the new court. The TV cameras came but the coverage was not at all clear.

In 1982. we saw the advent of the safe screen court, the first ever to have four transparent walls. The court was made of perspex (ICI's acrylic sheeting) and paved the way for the game to become a fishbowl sport. It's demountability and unique one way viewing drew in record crowds at the British Open and the World Masters.

The court has been continually improved and updated throughout this period, developments including the transparent "tin" and transparent "cutline". both introduced for the Patrick event in 1983 and the introduction of a yellow ball and blue floor for the British Open 1984. which also allowed making the rear wall clear and the removal of the one way "perforated membrane" between the top of the walls and the ceiling.

New walls are being produced for the World Masters at Warrington which will incorporate the dot pattern beneath the surface of the wall to prevent scuffing damage.

It is intended to sell courts from the end of 1984 and in certain instances Hampton Developments are prepared to enter exclusive arrangements with purchasers, who would be assured that no other Safe-Screen courts would be sold within their region of operation for a given period. The Safe Screen Squash Court is expected to retail at about 150.000 pounds sterling.

A provisional order for the first transparent walled Racquetball Court is anticipated to be confirmed in the near future, which again will lead to worldwide sales following successful testing in the U.S.A.

Both squash and racquetball courts are seen as being ideal vehicles for company sponsorship in bringing these sports, which have hitherto been cloistered, behind solid walls, to a much greater number of spectators, both live and via television. The current world record for live spectators for either of these sports was achieved during the Davies and Tate British Open Championships at Wembley 1984 when 2,603 people watched   play   on   the   Safe-Screen Court.

Before long squash enthusiasts in America, Australia, the Middle East, the Far East and other parts of the world should be able to enjoy the benefits of this revolution in squash.

Let's look briefly at it's main features:

Four Unobstructured One-Way Transparent Walls

The Safe-Screen court has four walls of transparent material unobstructed by the steelwork frames along each wall. At some venues, slender corner columns are required but at others it is possible to suspend the ceiling structure from the roof of the spectator hall, allowing allround clear vision into the court.

The Safe-Screen wall material is manufactured from "Perspex", Id's acrylic sheeting. An opaque pattern of dots creates a one way effect, when the inside of the court is illuminated and the outside is relatively dark. Spectators and TV cameras can see in but players cannot see out.

The dots are white inside the court to provide the best possible background to play but are black outside the court, to enable TV  camera to operate satisfactorily

Panel Floor

A panel floor system has been developed for speedy erection. Floor panels run the length of the court, to avoid unacceptable lateral joints, and are fully sprung. The floor appears and performs as a conventional first grade maple sprung floor. It can be natural or a colour such as blue, if a white ball is to be used

Non-Glare Illuminated Ceiling

The court has a uniformly illuminated ceiling, which provides a non glare background to play as well as transmitting light to the court A lighting intensity well above the ISRF and SRA specifications has been designed to provide 2000 lux. with 3 phase supply, to enable televising through the one way walls.

All-round one-way background to play

Between the top of the court walls and the illuminated ceiling, there is a perforated  membrane   manufactured from "Melinex". ICI's polyester material   This allows ventilation but continues the one way effect.

Illuminated  sponsors'  advertising signs

A 34.5m x 0.6m (113ft x 2ft.) deep illuminated band surrounds the court -above ceiling level for sponsors" advertisement.

Transparent 'Tin' and 'Cut-Line'

These allow clear visibility through the front wall.

Door   with   no   Finger   Trap   Gap under Impact

Brief  Technical  Details  dimensions in meters

Overall   dimensions  of  finished court 10.730 x 7.380 x 6.90

Clear   dimensions   required   for erection 12.530 x 9.+80 x 7.20

Access requirements (largest elements)

Steelwork truss 9.900 x 0.585 x 0.134

Timber    floor    panel     (largest) 9.720 x 0.650x0.113

Safe-Screen panel (tallest) 4.670 x 1.699 x 0.400 (widest) 3.126 x ! .858 x 0.400

Electricity supply 3 phase; 60A/ phase

"Total   self-weight  of  court   11.6 tones

Successful televising of squash

The court   has been   used  for the following events:-

1. I.C.I "Perspex" World Masters. 1982. Leicester Central T.V. New-feature Video at I.C.I

2 Patrick International Squash Festival. 1083, Chichester. TVS -two programmes totaling one hour 
Ex cerpt Network on ITV World of Sport.

3. Davies & Tate British Open Championships 1983 Derby. BBC Grandstand

4 I.C.I. "Perspex" World Masters 1983. Warrington BBC Grandstand.

5 Davie's & Tate British Open Championships. 1984 Wembley BBC Grandstand

6. Davies & Tate Test Match - v Pakistan. 1984. Wembley. Channel 4 one hour coverage.

7. I.C.I. "Perspex" World Masters. 1984. Warrington. BBC Grandstand

Safe-Screen Squash Court

Demountable Squash Court with Four One-way, Transparent Walls The "Safe-Screen" court has been designed by Campbell, Keith & Hill, having been principally involved in the development of transparent walled courts, including the design featured in model form on the BBC TV's "Tomorrow's World" programme in 1977. the Southern Television Test Court built in 1978 and several subsequent designs for one way glass squash and racquetball courts.

In 1982. the partners of Campbell. Reith & Hill decided to design, develop and own the prototype Safe-Screen squash court, believing that Perspex was a preferable material to glass for demountable courts, in providing safety, durability and reliability in satisfying tournament commitments.

The Safe Screen wall material is one of a range of transparent materials with one-way differential vision. for which a patent has been applied

Erection time

Only one additional day before an event needs to be booked for erection and no additional days need be booked for dismantling, the venue being available for use the following evening, providing overnight working is acceptable.

The Safe Screen court has been designed specifically for the televising of squash, as well as the vast improvement allround vision affords live spectators.

Demountable racquetball courts and permanent squash front walls are also being produced for sales throughout the world

Playability

At the 1982 IC1 'Perspex' World Masters, the 1983 Patrick International Squash Festival at Chichester and the Davies & Tate British Open championships at Derby, players have all been complimentary about the court. In a publicly recorded interview the World Champion. Jahangir Khan. said. "1 like this court All the players are very happy with this court and I think it's a very good one for squash."

'Live' Spectator Appeal

The all round visit has transformed the spectator appeal of squash, enabling a wide variety of novel views of the game. Even the pleasant sound of the ball on the Perspex walls has been appreciated.

Televising

The first all round coverage of squash in the world was by T.V.S at the 1983 Patrick international Squash Festival. Chichester. networked on ITV's "World of Sport" This was extremely successful, in showing the ball clearly, and the immense improvement in televising through the front wall, enabled the "agony and ecstasy" on players' faces to be captured.

A film feature on Jahangir Khan. broadcast by BBC' TV. featured practice and matches from the 1983 Davies and Tate British Open Championships. played on the Safe Screen court

National Squash Centre

Carnpbell Reith & Hill have been appointed as lead consultants by the Squash Rackets Association and have designed several schemes for different sites The multi purpose spectator arena for Stockport. illustrated below was designed for squash snooker table tennis, other sports and light entertainments.

This is an example of our "compact sports arena" concept, winch utilises retractible seating for speedy conversion from one use to another A smaller club scheme was designed for the SRA at the Belfry Hotel, the National Golf Centre site, where our present appointment is, for the hotel leisure complex, which includes a swimming pool and squash courts

Campbell Reith & Hill is professional practice of consulting engineers The practice, formerly known as Campbell Rieth & Partners was founded in 1960 and specialises in civil, structural, highway and marine engineering.

Clients include international agencies such as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Overseas Governments. UK Govern merit Departments (DHSS, Doe. PSA). The Post Office and British Telecom, local authorities including the Greater London Council, universities. churches and a wide variety of private, commercial and industrial concerns.

The three UK offices of the practice are located in London (Hampton Wick and Croydon) and Manchester (Stock port). Each office maintains a balance of personnel capable of processing projects from inception to completion supported by advanced computer' facilities.

Every project becomes the personal responsibility of one of the seven partners The practice is structured in such a way as to be able to deal with a wide spectrum of projects in terms of size, type and location

Campbell Reith and Hill have considerable experience of working in over seas countries, including Mauritius, the United Arab Emirates, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Norway and the USA

The development of the safe screen court has also led to the players using a white or blue ball to allow better TV coverage The laminated acrylic sheeting results in the white ball getting dirty As a result, the ball is changed after every game

 

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