Football training academy brings new life to historic park and gardens, boosting the local economy
To better support and continue to grow their organisation, Reading Fooball Club (FC) sought a site for their new training academy and other facilities. The former Bearwood Estate, an English Heritage at risk Grade II listed park, provided the opportunity to solve both the club’s and the park’s needs. Based on our close relationship with Reading FC and extensive engagement with Historic England and Wokingham Borough Council, our interdisciplinary team came onboard to transform Bearwood into a Premier League football training ground and academy.
Our master plan, architecture, and landscape design centered on creating an environment that would be high quality, sensitive, and coordinated for the club while also promoting movement, safety, accessibility, sustainability, and character. The campus houses the club’s headquarters, players’ accommodation, recreational spaces, and high-tech training facilities within a sleek architectural design. Bespoke contemporary architecture blends with the historic landscape backdrop, creating intrigue with low-lying sculptural forms that share a common materiality and create a unified family of pavilions. Restoration of existing roads and footpaths and reinstatement of historic park elements and gardens, including ecologically rich meadow grasslands, set the new facility against a backdrop of picturesque parkland views and historic lakes.
The project benefits both club and community. It delivers huge socioeconomic benefits to the Thames Valley, strengthening Reading’s position in the league and its relationships with local schools, delivering housing, and creating a place fit for modern life.
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