Park life

A major sports complex has been created in a Netherlands park to provide facilities for professional athletes as well as increase the local community’s health. Russ Davenport from FaulknerBrowns Architects spoke to Jack Wooler to discover the array of contents wrapped inside a twisting polished steel ribbon

S portcampus is a 33,000 m2 sports

complex set in the centre of Zuiderpark, a large public park in

© Hufton+Crow

The Hague. Covering indoor sports from basketball and football to beach volleyball and gymnastics, the facility accommodates The Hague University of Applied Sciences, ROC Mondriaan, and the wider community. Project designers FaulknerBrowns Architects have created an asymmetrical ovoid to house the facility, surrounded by a ribbon of polished steel panels, creating dynamic reflections of the surroundings, including nearby greenery. Given the brief of contributing to a “healthier society,” the architects worked closely with the client and the local community to construct a building that would allow the experienced and inexperienced to join together in a wide variety of activities, in one centre. FaulknerBrowns Architects have been working in Holland for the past 25 years, with considerable experience building similar sports structures across Europe, including Netherlands projects Sportiom in Den Bosch and the National Velodrome at Apeldoorn. They were appointed to the Sportcampus Zuiderpark project through an EU tender and design competition. Originally the client was three-headed: the local housing association, the municipality of Den Haag, and The Hague University, the brief being developed by a combined working party. During the concept design stage, the housing association terminated its involvement,

the lead being taken by the city and the university.

Completed in 2017, the project has already been shortlisted for Best Building of The Year in Holland, and will compete for the title of World Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival in November. With its striking facade, inclusive design, and collaborative build, it is easy to see why the building has been so well received.

Connected space

The collaborative nature of the project was established at an early stage, which according to Russ Davenport, partner at FaulknerBrowns Architects, was a real benefit when defining the project’s direction, as well as being tied into its community role. “Central to the brief was the wellbeing and health education of the community,” he tells ADF. “The provision of a sports library, for example, was seen as an opportunity to engage athletes, students, and the broader public in the DNA of the building.” The building’s programme is split vertically, with the ground floor being a ‘private’ section, including the changing rooms and athlete areas, and the first floor generally being available to the public. The major elements of the structure have been brought together and placed end to end in the centre of the plan. According to Davenport, this was conceived to provide maximum flexibility in use, creating the opportunity to subdivide rooms


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