WAN Sport in Architecture 2016 Shortlist Announced

Sam Horscraft
26 Apr 2016

Seven superb projects showcase the best in sports design

The WAN Sport in Architecture Award 2016 ran for the first time this year and has been a real success. A variety of entries were submitted from all over the world, including: Stadia, Sports complexes, Olympic venues, Training Facilities, Gymnasiums, Fitness Clubs and Indoor swimming Pools.

The jury panel of leading experts recently reviewed the 28 longlisted projects and had the difficult task of selecting a shortlist. Each project was assessed for originality, innovation, form, function, sustainability and context. The jury also considered how the projects addressed the key elements of the client brief and used design to evolve or push the boundaries of this specific typology.

This year’s expert panel were: Paul Brislin, Director and Architect at Arup, Rasti Bartek, Associate Director at Buro Happold and Michael Taylor, Senior Partner at Hopkins Architects. 

The three jury members selected a shortlist of seven and one commended project shown below in no particular order:

Musholm in Denmark by AART architects.

Located by the Danish coastline, just an hour drive from Copenhagen, Musholm challenges the traditional notion of accessible architecture with a view to becoming the preferred sports resort for people with any type of handicap – both in Denmark and abroad. Designed as one of the world’s most innovative sports resorts for people with disabilities, Musholm has been designed to do wonders for people and the tourism in the region. It does so by combining design and architecture into a unique experience that engages the guests and shows how businesses can be financially successful while creating social impact.

The judges were immediately drawn to this project, Michael said: ‘I think it’s brilliant, the echoing of the circle, works quite charmingly.” Paul was also very impressed, adding: “This is a lovely project, it’s beautifully integrated within the landscape, and as a space for disabled people it does exactly what it should in such an elegant way.”

CHS Field in USA by Snow Kreilich Architects, Ryan A+E and AECOM.

The CHS Field Ballpark is conceived first as a park and a public space, and then as a sports venue. Working with the City of Saint Paul and the St. Paul Saints, an independent league franchise committed to providing a unique fan experience, the design team slipped a 7,000 seat ballpark into a remnant site between an interstate highway, an elevated bridge, a light rail operations facility and the historic Lowertown District on the edge of the City’s business district.

The way in which CHS Field is integrated within the urban landscape caught the judge’s attention with Paul commenting: “The way it sits in its City context is just perfect. It works in its contexts and links to its surroundings.” Michael agreed with Paul and applauded the use of materials: “The space for the concessions is just brilliant. The simplicity seems almost effortless with a beautiful use of timber. The lighting is beautifully done as well, just a flawless project.”

Stade de soccer de Montreal in Canada by Saucier + Perrotte architects and HCMA Architecture + Design.

The history of the site of the St-Michel Environmental Complex has been marked by change and evolution. Since its beginning as a mining center, then as a dumping site, human intervention has taken a severe toll on the land’s topography and symbolism within the city. This location is now destined to become one of Montreal’s biggest parks with a focus on the environment and ecological restoration. Rasti was the first to comment on this project: “Structurally I love it, it works very very well.”

On the site of the former Miron quarry and a future ecological park, the new indoor soccer stadium emerges from the park’s artificial topography as a layer of mineral stratum recalling the geological nature of the site. Paul was also very impressed with this project: “On first viewing I like this project a lot, the poetic form of the building in context with its surroundings has to be applauded.”

The Couch in Netherlands by MVRDV.

IJburg is a new district to the east of Amsterdam. On its six artificial islands, 18,000 homes will eventually be built for 45,000 residents. At present, the district holds just 16,000 of these inhabitants. There are many initiatives to attract people to the area, such as the beach at Blijburg aan Zee, and the newly formed IJburg Tennis Club itself. The tennis club, currently with 1100 members, has 10 clay courts and a tennis school. The client’s brief asked for a design which could fill the vacant, elongated strip of land with an iconically functional building which provides both a viewing platform and a club overlooking the water.

The judges were drawn to the simplicity and innovation of the project, with Michael saying: “It’s incredibly innovative, this is a fantastic space, it’s got so much impact for something so small.” Rasti added: “It feels like a lot of love has gone into this project.”

Avaya Stadium in USA by HOK.

The design of the San Jose Earthquakes’ new $100 million Major League Soccer stadium emphasises the fan experience by creating an intimate atmosphere that brings spectators close to the action. With Avaya Stadium’s location in Silicon Valley – America’s technology epicentre - and the Earthquakes’ forward-thinking brand ethos, Avaya Stadium designers immediately identified innovation as the central focus of new stadium’s design. Since opening, the stadium has set a new standard for flexible and efficient design and has been recognised by Major League Soccer and the media for pioneering the latest integration of technology and advancing the American soccer experience.

Rasti commented: “This project is very minimalistic and very simple, it’s nicely done.” Paul added: “The relationship between inside and outside is good, which is critical when designing a sports venue, it works well.”

Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in UAE by Pattern Design Limited

The Hazza Bin Zayed (HBZ) Stadium is the home of Al Ain Football Club, one of the leading clubs in the United Arab Emirates Pro League. Al Ain is the second-largest city in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and has been inhabited for thousands of years. It is well known for its date palm plantations, which are possible due to the naturally-occurring ground water harnessed via a complex falaj irrigation system. Due to its location, the city of Al Ain experiences a dry and arid desert climate. In response to these factors, Pattern have used the latest parametric technology to create a complex outer façade, which is inspired by the rotating fractural geometry of date palm fronds. 

The judges were impressed with this project, Michael said: “Hugely ambitious and technically challenging and that should be applauded.” The impressive façade was also a highlight, with Rasti commenting: “The façade is a real stand-out.”

Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre in Canada by HCMA Architecture + Design

The mandate given by the City of Surrey for its $55M (CDN) Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre (GHAC) project was for a landmark recreational hub to act as a pivotal first piece in a larger recreational master plan in a newly emerging suburban community. There was the need for recreational and community spaces to promote wellness, learning, healthy living and sports excellence. The City’s desire for an “iconic” destination pool to entice families, athletes and international competitions inwards drove the design for GHAC.

The swooped roof was the element of this project which fascinated the jury, Rasti was the most vocal, commenting: “This is extremely innovative, the roof is extremely technical, simply amazing, I think this is beautiful. Structurally this is absolutely amazing; the execution is also very nice.” As well as the roof, the interiors also caught the eye of the judges, Paul said: “As well as the roof, the use of concrete is quite beautiful.”

Special mention should also be made to Gonzaga school sports facilities, a ship in a bottle by One Works which was commended by the judges. The jury were very impressed with the innovation to incorporate an underground car-park to provide an extra revenue stream. Michael commented: “I take my hat off to them for the originality and ingenuity of creating a revenue stream.”

Congratulations to all those shortlisted and a big thank you to all those who entered into this year’s WAN Sport in Architecture Award 2016. The winner, chosen from the seven shortlisted projects will be announced on May 3rd.

Sam Horscraft,

Awards Co-ordinator

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