Called ‘the best’ by intercollegiate coaches and tennis pros alike, this indoor tennis facility unites four older courts with four new ones. A viewing hall lobby brings fans right to the edge of the action, spurring players and fun.

"There hasn’t been a day I enter the building that I am not blown away by the fact that this is our home facility. It has had a significant impact on my recruiting. - Alex Dorato, Cary Leeds Coach of Men's Tennis

Yale University's indoor tennis facility needed renovation and expansion to accommodate tournaments and ease the crush of daily practice. The new Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center designed by Centerbrook doubled the number of courts from four to eight and features a new central viewing lobby and welcoming entrance with a dynamic canopy. The re-born center is widely credited with bringing the Intercollegiate National Indoor Tennis Championship to Yale in 2009.

To fit on a tight sloping site and improve fan experience, Centerbrook designed a wedge shaped central viewing lobby that connects a new court building to the old. The two tennis pavilions match each other in lighting and size to keep all courts equivalent for competition. The viewing lobby is one story above the new courts with overhanging bleachers astonishingly close to the action, while other seats just above the old courts add more up-close viewing for that pavilion. Coaches can move quickly from one pavilion to the other via a hallway below.

Reviews from coaches, fans, and players have been glowing. “The first time I walked into the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center I was unbelievably impressed with it, the overall design, the graphics, the team rooms, with everything,” said David Geatz, who coaches Cornell University’s Women’s Tennis. “My teams have played all around the country, and this is the nicest facility of them all. It has a really nice college feel to it.” The U.S. Tennis Association recognized the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center with an Outstanding Facilities Award, and the American Sports Builders Association named it the 2009 Indoor Tennis Facility of the Year.

Professional tennis player and Pilot Pen Champion James Blake, who has practiced at the facility, concurred: “The tennis center at Yale is wonderfully designed and fits perfectly for a college dual match. I think it will be the site of many memorable matches for the Eli's.” That’s high praise, indeed, coming from a Harvard man.

Photography © Peter Aaron/Esto