Sports hall, Niederglatt
NIEDERGLATT (CH) - This summer the new sports hall extension to the existing Eichi Centre was finalized and opened, following a little over two years of planning and construction. Located in a small town in northern Switzerland, the project involves an expansion of the existing centre, which was originally constructed in 1985 to a design by architect Walter Schindler. L3P Architects had previously been engaged in the completion of a new schoolhouse annex at the centre, in 2007, and maintains continuity in this latest addition by employing the same facade materials and a similarly bright colour concept, both inside and out.
The multifunctional double sports hall appears externally as a compact structure, though the interior holds a two-storey foyer with an ample glass facade, changing rooms and showers, a spectator gallery, equipment rooms and a stage, in addition to the sports halls themselves. Partitions can be installed to divide the space for various events, for instance as dressing rooms with direct proximity to the stage area for theatrical performers, giving the suggested multifunctional aspect of the extension a wide flexibility.
As a unique touch, the architects have included throughout the building's interior a recurring accent: circles. The architects describe them as being evocative of bouncing balls – an ornamentation appropriate to the primary functional context. This omnipresent form has been integrated in the concrete walls and maritime pine plywood panelling alike, either by round milling or with perforations. An early design concept included circular, playfully ordered skylights as well, but this was forgone with respect to budgetary concerns.
Colour is introduced internally with a polyurethane coating in the dressing rooms and other chambers – solid, encompassing fields of chromatic intensity – and with dyed hard concrete decking through the corridors. Ceilings and corridor walls throughout the structure are also shaped for sound absorbent qualities. Taken together, these aspects of the new extension give the impression of a stark spatial concept rooted in the monolithic qualities and blankness of minimalism, yet the hard lines are favourably offset by the aforementioned round repetitions, as well as by juxtapositions of natural wood and concrete surfaces.
Wednesday | 8 September | 2010 | Switzerland | Dutton R. Hauhart