Outdoor Squash: “How does it work?”
Usually squash is played in squash or leisure centres, schools or universities, or at other squash related venues.
But is the unusual possible? What about playing squash outdoors?
This is possible, but it needs the right venue and appropriate material to build a court which can withstand all outdoor conditions such as the weather, the impact of vandalism and many other influences which every publicly accessible installation has to face.
But the idea, to bring squash to the public and make it more accessible and visible will give the sport a better image and more attention.
What is required to get an outdoor squash court?
You do not need to have an existing building to put the court into – it is free standing. Durability is not an issue as glass has a long life span and is sustainable. The courts are almost maintenance free – only cleaning would be required. ASB will supply the complete court system (PublicSquashCourt), the only thing you supply is the space needed for the court. This has to be an even ground, preferably made of concrete (min. 14m x 10m)
What material is used for an outdoor squash court?
As normal squash court walls wouldn’t be resistant to outdoor conditions, the walls have to be made from glass. The ultimate proof for using glass for an outdoor glass court installation can be seen on a cruise ship (AIDA Diva, built in 2007) where the court is under the constant influence of sea water and perpetual movement, in addition to the impact of the elements. The glass used for the ASB OutdoorSquashCourts is new in the range of ASB GlassProducts. The glass has burned in ceramic dots – usually white – but the colour can be defined. Additionally, it is possible to implement city or sponsor logos.
For the floor, two materials can be used. The first and best option would be glass like the walls. The glass panels are laid onto a specially developed aluminium dual-support sprung floor supporting construction, which guarantees consistent elasticity and shock absorption across the entire area. Usually, glass reflects any source of light and has a slippery surface. But special treatment of the surface enables a very low level of light reflection. Non-slip properties are ensured by integrated ceramic dots, the number and size of which have been adapted so that the non-slip properties comply with those of traditional sports floors.
But there is a second option, which is plastic. This floor surface consists of special plastic boards that are weather resistant and equipped with a good grip. These boards are flexible and installed on top of an elastic drainage sub-structure to allow rainwater to quickly drain away. This way the floor is playable nearly immediately after rainfall ceases.
If an outdoor court needs lighting (as the venue allows evening usage too), the outdoor court can be fitted with a specially designed outdoor lighting system. All ASB OutdoorSquashCourts are equipped with the required fixation points so the lighting rig can also be retrofitted to any other court.
What else is useful to know about an outdoor squash court?
ASB OutdoorSquashCourt’s design is very similar to the design of the famous ASB ShowGlassCourt, meaning it is very modular. The court can be installed and dismantled quickly if required, this allows the court to be installed in the summer months and then stored over winter if desired.
The Public Use
The ASB OutdoorSquashCourt has been designed with all aspects of public access in mind. A special focus has been set on providing a product that requires a minimal amount of maintenance. In order to protect the court against any kind of vandalism, securit® safety glass is used for the glass surfaces. In addition, they are protected by a slim, specially cushioned aluminium profile, this means the court can withstand strong impacts in case of vandalism.
ASB has an outstanding amount of experience in building outdoor glass squash courts. ASB has installed glass courts for outdoor use all over the world. This includes several private homes as well as many professional open-air tournaments and even an outdoor glass court on a cruise ship where it is under the constant influence of sea water and also perpetual movement in addition to the impact of the elements.
In a news story in the New York Times, under the headline “Squash Without the Ceiling”, New York stylist Danielle Brown told reporter Amy Sohn: “It’s amazing being outside ….. the whole community has been dying for this. I like it better than playing inside.”
Another story has been published in “Vogue”.