Architects: Vicente Salvador Arquitecto, Ignacio Vidal Arquitecto
Location: La Vall d'Uixó, Castellón, Spain
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: José Hevia
From the architect. The sports facility completes a public urban block where it stands currently the Honori Garcia High School, the local council sports pavilion and the local council swimming pool building. Given that the entirety of the block is publicly owned, the first thing to establish was the definition of the site to occupy. With the aim of getting a well rationalised and arranged organisation of built elements and resulting in-between spaces, it was decided to establish the length of the existing sports pavilion as the width of the site, leaving at either side pedestrian streets to access the neighbouring facilities.
Once established the area of intervention, it was decided to allocate the building in the oblique corner of the site adjacent to the Agricultor Avenue, thus freeing the rest of the site, of rectangular proportions, for fitting the sports pitches, with more space demand. On top of this, it was made possible to take advantage of the difference in height between the avenue and the site below, then placing the main entrance level with the street pavement.
Following this criteria, the proposed massing - comprised of access ramp, changing facilities, administration and café - is located along the oblique boundary of the site, solving the change in levels but also creating the main elevation facing the sports pitches. Only when the building approaches the acute corner of the site is when it moves apart allowing for the changing facilities to have double aspect orientation, ensuring natural light as well as ventilation. In this way, a secluded courtyard appears isolated from the sports facilities behind as well as form the noise from the road above. The covering of the courtyard is foreseen as the natural extension of the development. A generous porch from where to enter the changing rooms gives access to this courtyard.
From the point of view of the relation of the building with the immediate external context, the massing described (fitted against the slope) allows for two main things. On the one side, the building is understood as an extension of the public domain, as the pavement invites the passer-by to come in and enjoy the views, as well as sitting in the bar terrace, without having fully entered the facilities yet. On the other, the presence of the building towards Agricultor Avenue is minimised, making the visual permeability of the sports areas easier. Both things, intentionally stress on the open and welcoming character of the sports centre as a place that encourages social interaction and a sense of community. A wish of achieving the social sustainability of the intervention is here evident.
The café-bar, clad entirely of a variety of glass, is the only element that distinguishes itself from the rest of the building. Technically simple solutions yet characterful and with strong impact solve the building. An example of this is the intriguing cantilever. It accomplishes successfully protection from the sun and rainfall. Perched on top of the changing facilities in order to be seen like a lightweight temporary pavilion, the café-bar acts as a loud element with the aim of catching the attention of the passers-by.