The University of Oxford is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world. Its brand-new indoor sports centre now features the innovative glass flooring system MultiSports by ASB GlassFloor.
Less than 100 kilometres outside of London lies the University of Oxford, the oldest English-speaking University in the world which was founded in the 12th century. Over the centuries, the institution has established a reputation that is second to none and attracts students from all over the world. Named after Oxford graduate and Olympic medal winner Acer Nethercott, the state-of-the-art sports centre is part of a major redesign of the University’s sports facilities. The new building will be connected to the Rosenblatt swimming pool and includes a 700 m² sports hall, a multipurpose activity room, changing rooms, a reception and a café.
During the planning process of the project both the highest technical standards and greatest amount of innovation were sought. The responsibility for this redesign lies with Jon Roycroft. As the University’s Head of Sports, he holds the reins when it comes to strategic planning and development of the sports facilities. Jon Roycroft was the one who first became aware of ASB Glass-Floor: “I happened to get hold of a magazine which had an article about the GlassFloor in it. The description of the flooring instantly caught my interest.” The flooring by the Bavarian company offers a whole range of advantages: it is more enduring, more durable, more hygienic, more elastic and flexible than conventional, synthetic or parquet flooring systems. And, it allows one to change its LED marking lines between the playing fields of different sports simply via touchscreen. The marking line chaos is a problem of the past with this unique detail. “Especially for sports halls which like ours are used for a whole variety of sports, it is extremely advantageous if you can easily switch between volleyball, basketball, badminton and other games.”
A few months after Roycroft had gotten in touch with ASB GlassFloor, Oxford’s Head of Sports visited the company in Stein an der Traun.
“That was a very special moment for us,” says Christof Babinsky, Managing Director of ASB GlassFloor. “When an institution like the University of Oxford shows interest in your products, that’s a tremendous affirmation.”
The on-site visit convinced Roycroft of the product. The next step was to see the flooring in action. With a delegation of colleagues, external project managers, architects and building experts, Roycroft first visited the BT Sports TV studio in London where the ASB GlassFloor is used on a daily basis. Next, they visited the Lazzate Sports Arena in Milan which has a 400 m² GlassFloor installed.
In addition to that, and before the final decision was made, the people involved in the Oxford project visited the BallsportArena in Dresden, which has the largest GlassFloor installed to date. The project by the river Elbe was inaugurated in autumn 2017 and has since received a lot of praise from the local handball team HC Elbflorenz Dresden, its fans and visitors.
The visit to the BallsportArena in Dresden helped the delegation of Oxford come to their final decision: they decided to install the GlassFloor with its LED lines in their new sports hall. From February to March 2018, 700 square meters of the multi-sports GlassFloor equipped with LED lines were installed at the sports centre on Iffley Road.
With its dark anthracite colour, the sports hall floor features a noble appeal – and it is extremely flexible due to the LED equipment. The teachers, students and athletes can change the sport at the touch of a button: from volleyball to football, from basketball to badminton to handball and vice versa. The sports hall is mainly used by the Oxford University students, but can also be rented for special occasions.
For Babinsky, the Oxford project is a new pinnacle in the history of the glass sports floor. “If such a traditional organisation as the University of Oxford chooses our revolutionary floor, it sends the right signals.” says Babinsky.