The current pandemic situation has changed our world drastically, fitness regime being on top of the list. All of us, in some way or the other, have realized that exercising and staying fit is the key to boost our immunity, helping us survive the pandemic. What better exercise than indulging in sports? Being ambitious architects and designers, proposing a sports facility is an opportunity in itself. Check this article out to know the top 10 things that you need to keep in mind while designing a sports Centre.
1. Zoning and site planning
The first step towards designing a sports club is site planning. A Sports Centre needs open ground as well as built areas; hence leaving it spread on the ground. It becomes inevitable to plan your site, its topography, surroundings, and climate of the city. All these factors are the major drivers of design. Zoning of functions according to the need of the user and the functions, for instance, it is easy for the user if two or more related functions are combined to form into a spatial composition, keeping in mind the transition between public, semi-public and private to maintain the hierarchy of spaces.
Tip: To brainstorm, functions and its arrangement using a bubble diagram is very advantageous!
A public built space like a sports facility, catering to the community as a whole needs to be easily accessible and maximize its reach. The idea of barrier-free access is yet to be implemented in our design, despite the issue being at the peak of all. The physically challenged society has taken a huge leap and has started involving in Paralympics, but there are hardly any facilities for the physically disabled audience in a sports club.
Tip: The sports club could be a barrier-free design and exist in the city center.
3. Standard Dimensions and Ergonomics
Any sports court has particular measurements, which are essential to be maintained for the safety and good health of the players; hence this set of rules must be followed while designing to avoid any grievances. It is the designer’s role to follow the standard court sizes, the height of the net or basket, minimum distance for the audience to observe the matches, etc.
Tip: The best place to get all the standard dimensions is in the Ernst Neufert available at https://www.academia.edu/21246356/Ernst_Neufert_ARCHITECTS_DATA
4. Sustainability in Sports
Sustainability has always been a question to the entire mankind of architects and designers. So it becomes a core duty of the designers to include the aspect of sustainability in the design. As the sports facility is widespread on the ground there is a vast possibility to collect rainwater and harvest it, making it sustainable. The Major portion of the open land can be afforested to maximize the percentage of green.
Tip: The rainwater harvest can be reused to water the landscape and greenery to kill two birds with a single stone!
5. Spatial and Social Considerations
A sports club will encourage a humongous amount of footfall in terms of audience, players, and crew members. To distribute the footfall one must design spaces smartly, providing different functions for different parts of the day to mobilize the spatial flow. To provide a comfortable spatial arrangement, parking facilities, suitable- unhindered seating for the audience is the utmost requirement. Watching sports is an exciting and immersive an experience as playing it! So to design it such that the whole process of buying the ticket to watching sports and reaching the parking spot becomes seamless and hassle-free, embarks a unique impression on the user, urging them to visit again.
Tip: Providing barrier-free access to the physically disabled audience, making them experience the match just like the abled people will be a humane step towards them.
6. Construction Material
The Construction of a sports facility can be highly expensive depending on the programs provided. So it becomes inevitable to cut the cost in construction materials while keeping the spatial experience of the user preeminent. The material selection is also a part of climate and context. The use of materials available locally and in abundance can be a part of the main construction system while the materials which are to be exported from other regions of the country can be used sparsely. The material selection also has a criterion to complement the ambiance of the facility. For instance, the Workshop Ricostruzione – The Sports and culture Centre in Italy is designed with wood, steel, and round glass, such that there is optimum natural light inside the built form.
Tip: Bamboo is a very efficient substitute for timber. Bamboo takes 3 years to grow while a teak tree grows in 20 – 25 years, making it a sustainable and wise decision to use bamboo as a construction material.
7. Multifunctional Spaces
To provide more open spaces one needs to compact built spaces, so to reduce it, a multifunctional space works the best way. While designing, one or more functions of nearly the same scale can be clubbed to function as a multipurpose space or giving a social function to the sports club at different parts of the day or year. For instance, a yoga hall can be used as a social gathering space by the night. In this way, there will be revenue generation to the club and also the need for a gathering hall won’t arise in the surrounding area. For example, the multi-purpose sports facility in the city of Orestad, Denmark is a Primary school in the morning, a sports facility in the evening, and a flea market on the weekends.
Tip: A façade with operable partitions can be converted to a larger or smaller space as per the need of the occasion, making the design a multifunctional space.
8. Interpretation Centre
While planning a large scale facility, it becomes easy for the visitors to orient in the spaces of the sports club if there is an interpretation or visitor’s Centre to briefly bring front the insights of the location, facilities, and advantages of the sports club.
Tip: If small retail shops displaying souvenirs or sports equipment is a part of the interpretation Centre it attracts more people and also generates revenue.
9. Color palette
The effect of color palettes on users can be significant. They can influence the user’s sensory experience, emotions, and behavior. The interiors of the facility can have a variety of color and material palette, choosing wisely according to the mood and setting that is needed for a game is an important decision to be made by a designer. Appropriate use of colors and contrast can improve wayfinding as well as create a simple and intuitive environment for all users.
Tip: A combination of warm and cool colors must be chosen wisely as per the need, for instance, if it is a serious game like chess which needs focus, cool color like blue or green makes a calm and focused environment.
10. Future Expansion
Lastly, it is important to take a few measurements so that there is room for future expansion in the facility and so that the footfall can be managed accordingly. Majorly, most of the designers lack space for expansion in institutes, recreational spaces, etc. but it has become a necessary part of a design.
Tip: A room for the future does not mean, designers, do not develop a piece of land and leave it abandoned for future use. Temporary structures are always a good use as they can be easily dismantled and until then proper use of the space can also be done.