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Danpalon façade rainscreen and roofing in thrilling building design - Oriam


National Performance Sports Centre, Scotland, Oriam Edinburgh / Architects: Reiach and Hall / Installer : Keyclad limited

Scotland needed a world class Sports Performance Centre to provide an inspirational environment for coaching and training its top sports people. Maximising natural light, while minimising glare and withstanding harsh climatic conditions were key considerations in the design process. Danpalon translucent polycarbonate panels from Everlite Concept played a significant role in creating a truly stunning new facility.

Danpalon BRV ORIAM


Oriam, Scotland’s state-of-the art Sports Performance Centre was created to provide the nation’s top sports people with the facilities and services they need to be able to compete successfully on the world stage.

Motivated by the key findings of the McLeish report into Scottish football, the development of the Centre was backed by the Scottish Government with a funding commitment of £26 million.

Herriot-Watt University, in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council and sport Scotland added a further. £7 million of funding and made the successful bid to host and operate the new centre, with Reiach and Hall Architects producing the winning design.

With a magnificent 116m x 76m size indoor 3G football pitch at its heart, Oriam is by far the biggest facility of its type in Europe. It is 28m tall at the pitch centre, 15m at the side lines and includes a viewing gallery for 500 people.

Integrated alongside, Oriam’s smaller 32m x 54m flexible indoor sports hall provides 12 courts for basketball, volleyball, netball and badminton with optional portable seating for up to 300 spectators.

Everlite Concept worked in partnership with the architects Reiach and Hall and cladding sub-contractor Keyclad on the provision of translucent polycarbonate rainscreen cladding and roofing for the sports hall with facade cladding for both buildings.



For both the indoor football pitch and the sports hall, maximising the amount of natural light reaching Oriam’s playing areas, while simultaneously minimising any glare, was a critical design requirement.

The centre’s design also needed to reflect the building’s status as an international centre of sporting excellence and home to world-class facilities for sports science and medicine.

It had to provide an inspirational, enjoyable environment and a dynamism that would help elevate Scotland’s standing in world sport.

At the same time, nestling within the trees of Herriot-Watt University’s Riccarton campus, and built on the site of a former Victorian walled garden, the Oriam buildings would also need to sit harmoniously within a beautiful natural setting.

The shear scale of the buildings and their exposure to some harsh climatic conditions – of wind, snow and rain - also meant that loading forces on roof, rainscreen and façade were a further important design consideration.


" The Danpalon polycarbonate panels have such a beautiful, mimetic quality about them. Oriam’s appearance just seems to constantly evolve in response to the weather, there’s a real harmony between the building and its environment. And with the interior lighting at night the building positively glows – it really is magical."

James Grimley, project director, Reiach and Hall Architects



As its inspiration for Oriam, Reiach and Hall based its design on a spectacular free kick taken by legendary Brazilian footballer Roberto Carlos against France in the 1997 Confederations Cup.

An article by French scientists in the New Journal of Physics showed that because Carlos kicked the ball hard enough, far enough and with enough spin, its trajectory followed the path of an equiangular spiral.

The architects took this logarithmic curve and used it as the basis for the design of the profile for the immense football pitch roof. It is this profile that has given Oriam its uniquely stunning and memorable form.
An elegant curved steel frame roof spanning more than 100 metres was clad in tensioned 2mm white PVC fabric and complemented by translucent polycarbonate façade panels from Everlite Concept.
Perfectly tracing the profile of the famous kick, clear Danpalon® façade panels were used for both north and south gable ends of the 3G pitch as well as the complete side of the adjoining sports hall.

Everlite’s Softlite surface finish was specified for the inside face of all Danpalon panels to manage glare.
The use of a pair of mobile platforms and suction lifting gear ensured installation of the 13m Danpalon panels was particularly fast, with cladding sub-contractor Keyclad achieving an astonishing coverage of 70 square metres per day.


" Not only did Danpalon panels bring us the gentle, even natural light we needed for the playing areas, it also provided the mechanical strength to withstand the loading forces and longer spans involved in the project. This enabled us to use less supporting steel and so reduce costs."

James Grimley, project director, Reiach and Hall Architects



Oriam’s stunning design, extensive use of Danpalon panels, and the tremendous synergy achieved between roofing, façade, rainscreen and curtain wall materials has created a truly inspirational environment for coaching, training and enjoying sport. It is an exciting and highly memorable place to visit.

During the day the translucent polycarbonate cladding maximises the amount of natural light entering the rooftop playing area, while at night it acts as a stunning beacon, illuminated by interior lighting and reflecting the continuously changing street and car lights outside.
The building today is not only Scotland’s national centre for football, it also serves the country’s national rugby team and is home to the governing bodies of basketball, handball, squash, racketball and volleyball in Scotland.

In 2016 Oriam won the ‘Future Building’ category at the Scottish Design Awards. Oriam is magical, it’s thrilling, it’s world class. It provides athletes, coaches and officials with all of the state-of-the-art facilities they need to create an exceptional performance environment that will only further strengthen Scotland’s proud sporting heritage.

As the architect noted in its original submissions, the Sports Performance Centre is a once in a lifetime, culturally important opportunity. It isn’t a half chance, it’s a direct free kick on the edge of the box – a moment to realise something truly amazing. We think the goal was achieved.




  • National Sports Performance Centre Scotland Oriam – Edinburgh
  • Danpalon BRV 16mm / 600 mm Clear Soflite
  • Architects: Reiach and Hall
  • Installer: Keyclad Limited
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