Oriam, Scotland's Sports Performance Centre

Structural Designer

Engenuiti and J&D Pierce

Client Name

Heriot-Watt University | Sport Scotland | City of Edinburgh Council


Edinburgh, UK

PRINCIPAL CONTRACTOR: Bowmer & Kirkland   

ARCHITECT: Reiach and Hall Architects     

KEY TEAM MEMBER: Deloitte and Thomas & Adamson           

KEY TEAM MEMBER: Rankinfraser Landscape Architecture

Images: © Ioana Marinescu


Scotland’s new sports performance centre provides high quality facilities for a number of national sports bodies, including the Scottish Football Association and Scottish Rugby Union. The project comprises a full size indoor 3G synthetic pitch for football and rugby, with spectator seating for 500 people, a nine-court sports hall, a 100 station fitness suite, as well as a high performance wing that includes areas for hydrotherapy, strength and conditioning, rehabilitation, offices and a classroom.

Judge's comment:

This spectacular project provides Scotland with world-class, all-weather sports training facilities. The main building features two translucent membrane-covered asymmetrical tubular steel truss roofs, the larger of which spans 100m and rises to a height of 25m.

The original proposal was to use tapering, fabricated-plate, hollow-section roof members. Though elegant in appearance these proved prohibitively expensive to manufacture and would have been difficult to erect within the confines of the site. As a result, the roof structure was re-engineered as a series of tubular steel, plane-frame trusses, supporting a chevron-plan array of arched compression members, which enabled an anticlastic lightweight tensioned membrane roof form to be adopted.

However, the low out-of-plane stiffness of the slender plane-frame trusses meant that they could not be assembled horizontally at ground level in the conventional manner, or tilted up into their final vertical orientation, without the provision and use of an extensive temporary bracing structure.

The bold decision was made to erect the trusses by match-pairing them with the adjacent structure to provide lateral stability, starting with the gable end frame. Then, having assembled their component parts using the adjacent structure as a jig, each complete vertically-orientated truss would be un-bolted from the neighbouring supporting structure, craned into its final position and connected back to the already-erected structure using tubular lateral tie struts. This ingenious approach yielded significant programme and cost savings, enabling the project to be delivered on time and within budget.

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