‘Fine sports architecture for a Fine City’

Joe Lenton is a Norfolk-based photographer, who recently took some shots of our site for our architects Chaplin Farrant. Read his impressions and see his photography below:

The nest hub entrance and roundabout - the hub building

“Recently the architects Chaplin Farrant who designed The Nest commissioned me to take photographs of the exterior of the building and the surrounding site for their portfolio. It was clearly a project they were proud of. This was my first visit, so I didn’t know what to expect and was able to photograph it with fresh eyes.

I have lived in and around Norwich for many years, so I was familiar with the area near Norwich Airport. On arrival, my first impression was that it wasn’t at all obvious from the road. If it wasn’t for the signs, there was little to show that a state of the art sports complex had been built there. It can be a concern that architecture can change the character of an area and dominate the skyline. Here, it sat in the landscape modestly.

The Nest view of the pitch

It struck me that The Nest seemed to echo aspects of the cricket ground next door. The building itself wasn’t tall and looming. Rather, as a single-storey building it was a little like the cricket pavilion looking out on its own playing fields.

The Nest hub building from the car park

The large car park enables The Nest to host numerous groups at once and there are plenty of flexible pitches for 5-a-side or 11-a-side football, for example. Central to them all, the astroturf pitch sits right next to the main building with plenty of room for spectators. The building itself feels like it is blending in. The dark roof and exterior walls draw it into the shadows of the surrounding trees and the natural look of the wood cladding also makes it feel like it belongs.

The Nest hub main entrance

The main entrance is stylish and draws you in with hints of the featured pitch beyond visible through the glass. The branding in yellow has been thoughtfully applied not just to the main signage, but also in the detailing around windows, for example. The yellow stands out very well against the darker powder-coated aluminium and highlights the obvious connection with the Community Sports Foundation and Norwich City Football Club.

The changing room facade on the Hub building at The Nest

Viewed at the back from the pitch, there are echoes of Carrow Road football stadium in the design such as the familiar yellow fold up seats. There is sufficient separation to keep spectators off the pitch but still feel very much a part of what is going on. Although I visited when there were no games taking place, it was easy to imagine that there could be a good atmosphere there.

The Nest logo taken from the 3G pitch

The cafe view from the Hub building

I enjoyed my time at The Nest and expect many more will do so, both when it is quiet and full of life. Overall it feels like a modern, sleek piece of architecture that is there to facilitate its functions without seeking to take over. There are, of course, strong lines and strong elements of design, but these do not overshadow the site in any way. It is prepared to welcome you for a meeting, quiet cup of coffee or a full on football tournament.”

The Nest Hub building from the 3G pitch

Joe Lenton is a Norfolk-based advertising photographer & CGI artist specialising in architecture and products. His work has won numerous international photography awards. Please do take a look at his architectural photography portfolio for more images