Grand Sports Arena
Sports arenas are a classic of modern and contemporary architecture and it is difficult to do anything new in the field. However, every project situation is unique and requires a specific response. Here, energy saving and the use of renewable resources were emphasized in the request. This option and the tight budget guided the project towards as compact a volume as possible, which was also consistent with optimum land occupancy. The combination of this compactness and great technical rigour in the design of passive solutions is embodied in an organic form that envelops the competition hall and the training hall in a single movement.

The building is a naturally ventilated “breathing machine”. Its profile is designed to promote the air convection, which is evacuated by rooftop chimneys. An underground heat exchanger positioned under the parking areas preheats and cools the air. The roof, which is visible from high points in the neighbourhood, is a “technological landscape” made up of north-facing ventilation and lighting chimneys, solar panels and photovoltaic cells. The technical solution generates the architectural signature.

The project is organised around the very densely designed 5000 seat arena, in which the stands are laid out as layered curves, positioned close to the competition surface to promote a “cauldron effect”. The competition surface itself seems to be cut into the relief; in the corners, the intersection of the layered curves with the wall leaves a space for the access doors to the playing arena. Contrary to the usual practice, the metal roof frame is not exposed. Tubes, RSJs and beams of all kinds are so much associated with the image of sports halls that in the end they all look the same. Here, the underside of the roof displays a volume and appearance that once again is created by technical choices and sustainability objectives. The lighting and ventilation chimneys positioned above the arena form a series of hollow conical volumes, half of them to produce natural ventilation and the other half natural lighting for training. Around the chimneys, the ceiling is composed of hot water radiator panels alternating with absorbent acoustic panel.

At the top of the roof frame, between the ceiling and the roof, is a hollow space that contributes to heat and sound insulation. This hollow extends vertically into the walkway space, so that the buffer space between the great hall and the exterior is continuous: because of its double skin structure, the envelope is very thermally efficient.

The facades unfurl fluidly, alternating between folds and armature, depending on internal needs. The upper part of the metal facades is opaque, gradually transforming further down into an open latticework which is transparent to the eye and provides protection from the sun. In the daytime, the latticework filters light and allows a glimpse of the interior spaces, creating a certain sense of mystery. At night, the perception is very different. The interior is lit up and the coloured “shell” appears behind the latticework, whose pattern stands out against the light. The image is then bright and festive, an invitation to come inside.


2 photos