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Burland goes snooker loopy

Burland TM has developed this concept for a 'billiardrome' - a venue for snooker and other cue sports - for a private operator who hopes to build the first one in Dubai's Sport City.

With historic aficionados including Marie Antoinette, Mozart and Pope Pius IX, cue sports have an enormous following but no high-quality physical facilities, and Burland's plans hope to address this shortage.

James Burland's design (he is a snooker player) is based on the circular depression in a square piece of billiard chalk.

Seating 3,000 to 3,500 people, the billiardrome is naturally lit from above using a series of light filters and a system that makes the natural and 'reinforced' lighting indistinguishable.

A spiralling entrance allows spectators to process past a gallery of honour. There are different zones for spectators, VIP boxes, players and press. The floor level can be raised, allowing the diameter of the playing ring to change between 13 and 18m. This will enable not only single-table and multiple-table play, but also use for other sports, such as table tennis and Sumo wrestling.

On three sides of the bowl there will be service zones but the front will be glazed to give the building street presence and a sense of excitement. Seating is raked steeply in order to create a sense of intimacy and good sitelines from every position. 'Spectators can sit up to 20m away and still be able to see, ' Burland said.

With only the Crucible in Sheffield having any kind of national or international standing as a venue for cue sports, Burland and his client, Peter Bainbridge, are confident that there could be potential for a number of billiardromes in the world.

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