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Sports buildings

The Don Valley athletic stadium in Sheffield, completed in 1991, was one of the first major new sports buildings designed by AHA. Built on the site of a former steelworks, the stadium has a dramatic roof - a series of fabric canopies supported by 12m-high masts and struts. The next stadium, which followed the recommendations of the Taylor Report following the Hillsborough disaster, was the Alfred McAlpine stadium in Huddersfield, a collaboration between AHA and the Lobb Partnership. The elegance of its structure, a set of 'banana'-shaped tubular trusses which span 130m to support the roof and give clear sightlines, was unique at the time and won the 1995 RIBA Building of the Year award.

Several sports building commissions followed, including the National Hockey Centre at Milton Keynes with YRM Architects, and a community stadium in Hull with the Miller Partnership. The Hull stadium, home to local rugby league and football clubs, can also be used for concerts. Three sides of the stadium are single-tier stands sheltered by a projecting roof that rests on beams cantilevering up to 25m. The two-tier west stand roof is suspended from distinctive Ashaped towers, which were fabricated from slender CHS tubes that were jointed with pin connections.

AHA has just completed another building in the Don Valley - the English Institute of Sport, designed with FaulknerBrowns. The centre offers high-performance indoor training facilities under a large-span mast-supported steel roof, clad with curved sheets to avoid the use of purlins.

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