Innovation is a buzz word often used by businesses to sell their latest wares or services, or by politicians trying to rally support for a somewhat intangible idea. Over time ‘innovation’ has described everything from developments in space exploration, to ground-breaking techniques…
CHALLENGE. Ascot has been a racecourse since 1711. In three centuries, it has built up a remarkable history – yet to keep pace with developments in the sport and provide the right facilities for racegoers and jockeys, the facilities had to be modernised. Thus the broad challenge for Populous was to design a modern racecourse that would remain sensitive to its historic setting. Specifically, the masterplan had to accommodate a larger grandstand and resolve the existing circulation challenges. Inspired by the soaring, magnificent trees that the racecourse is famous for, the new 30,000 seat, 480m grandstand perches on the brow of a hill, its shallow-arched paraboloid shape looking out at panoramic views of the course to the north. Within, a large atrium acts as an ‘environmental lung’, topped by a lightweight glass and steel roof with a light sweeping canopy sailing over the whole.
INNOVATION. As well as stunning views of the racecourse, spectators have visual and physical access to the parade ring, now moved to the front of the grandstand to create a central focus for racedays that gives spectators a chance to engage with the pre and post-race ceremonies.
IMPACT. Royal Ascot is the most valuable race meeting in Europe and Britain’s most popular, welcoming approximately 300,000 visitors across the five days of Royal Ascot. The masterplan, with its newly sited parade ring, stunning grandstand and improved facilities, offers these racegoers – and all those visiting throughout the year – a wealth of different experiences, thus broadening Ascot’s appeal even further and assuring its future continued success.