The International Wallball Centre .

London - England

Project Details

Venue: The International Wallball Centre

Commission: Concept Design

About The Project

Sport Concepts worked in association with UK Wallball to prepare this concept design for a new international wallball centre to be constructed in London. The key objectives of the project are to:

  • Preserve, promote and broaden the appeal of traditional handball games
  • Popularise international handball games
  • Provide a home for the burgeoning sport of wallball
  • Better serve the international communities of London
  • Inspire UK communities to build walls and facilities nationally
  • Host National & International tournaments
  • Work with local communities to provide cheap and accessible sport & activity for everyone, regardless of age, ability or financial restraint

The evolution of Wallball

Traditionally, Fives is a game played by English private schools, such as Eton, Rugby and Winchester. Fives is a handball game, similar to squash, played in an enclosed court. It is most commonly believed to be derived from Wessex Fives, a game played by Thomas Arnold, famous Headmaster of Rugby School.

The game made its way into mining towns in Wales and West of England, and then migrated to Ireland. Gaelic Handball adopted its own rules and during the great depression, Irish immigrants took the game to New York. There are now over 2,000 free-to-play handball courts in the city, breaking its association with its public-school roots. Derivations of fives have since spread across the globe. The world Handball Association now has over 40 member countries from Australia to Colombia, Alaska to Japan.

These various regional and national versions of handball have been amalgamated to create the internationally recognised ‘Wallball’. The sport has been recognised by the IOC and there is a 20-year plan for Olympic inclusion. Currently the World Handball Championships take place every 3 years and the European Pro Tour has been set up. UK Wallball Association grows and adapts to work with underprivileged and disabled athletes, as well as the Team GB elite squad.

A new International Wallball Centre in the UK

The UK has been left behind in the international growth of the sport. Fives has remained the preserve of the privileged, whereas other countries have ensured that handball sports are accessible to everyone. Currently, the UK lacks publicly accessible courts and facilities.

Those that do exist are all behind closed doors at public schools or private clubs. Millions of UK children play handball sports, unaware that they are part of a much bigger worldwide movement. The new International Wallball Centre aims to address these issues.

The Sport Concepts scheme comprises the following key elements:
  • 4 x Rugby Fives Courts, 2 x Winchester Fives Courts & 2 x Eton Fives Courts
  • 4 x Indoor Three-Wall Wallball Courts
  • 3 x Outdoor One-Wall Wallball Courts 4 x Outdoor Four-Wall Handball
  • Outdoor beach volleyball & spike ball court adjacent to a fitness centre
  • Spectator areas, changing facilities, offices, reception area with a shop & cafe
  • Visitor Parking within a landscaped area

The UK Wallball Association are currently looking to fund the proposals.

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