Audrey Matlock Architects design sports centre in Kazakhstan mountains
The architectural goal for this project is to seamlessly assimilate a large building into this breathtaking landscape and to weave the invigorating mountain location into the athletic spaces.
The site is on a plateau in the foothills of the Tian Shan Mountains on the eastern border of Kazakhstan. It is a privately sponsored project devoted to sports and social gatherings. The program includes indoor and outdoor tennis courts, observation areas, children’s gym, dressing rooms, Turkish baths, children’s game lawn and a barbeque pavilion.
The design concept is a low profile structure that meshes with the landscape by depressing the building into the earth. The all-roof building is comprised of ten zinc covered ribbons that reflect the jagged profiles of the surrounding mountains. Between each ribbon a clerestory window frames views to the nearby mountain peaks.
The below grade tennis courts are accessed by a ramp that reinforces the athletic purpose of the building. The dressing rooms and hamams are at this lower court level. Surrounding the courts are grade level observation areas and a children’s gymnasium.
The open barbeque pavilion is under the easternmost roof ribbon facing the best mountain views. Sliding glass wall panels connect the pavilion to the interior observation area and steps provide seating facing the exterior game lawn. This covered terrace has a large two-sided fireplace, a kazak-style b-b-q pit and a kitchen.
Triangular steel trusses that anchor to the hilltop support the roof. A standardized truss module was developed that is adjusted to the various angles with simple joint connections. The roof sheathing is unfinished zinc that will weather to take on the natural appearance of its surroundings.
The Medeu Sports Center was honored with a Chicago Athenaeum 2008 American Architecture Award.