By creating a space which is open onto the city and welcoming for visitors, the proposal for the Collider Activity Center by SO-AP Architects intends to be a place of importance in the city of Sofia. The objective is to propose a building designed to meet the expectations of a wide audience motivated by the challenge and keen on using a place offering multiple combinations of sports and rest, while being able to enjoy views on the city and its surroundings. More images and architects' description after the break.
The arrival of the underground, the two new shopping malls and the future creation of the Collider Activity Center will make this site a place of importance in the city of Sofia. Consequently, we wanted to give visibility and a strong identity to this sports center aimed at a wide audience of sports fans and enthusiasts for big thrills. The simplicity of the shape is offset by the quality of the architectural expression and the distribution of the equipment.
The project site is treated as a site at the crossroads of the park and the city. Our equipment is the synthesis, the expression and the product of this alliance. While compact and pragmatic in order to integrate the best solutions in terms of technical facilities and economics, this equipment seeks to express the duality between nature and urbanity, between the heart (personality / wealth) and the envelope (body / machine). The body is a machine that everyone tries to develop in order to express the richness and the strength of his/her personality. We see the equipment as a simple machine that helps to provide the extraordinary and to push one’s physical limits.
The building that we propose is imposing and compact. It literally gets off the ground floor to allow the street space going through the lobby and to arrive into the park. The park provides a first leveled and wooded part in order to shelter the open summer stage and the exterior recreational swimming pool, i.e. all the programs that produce noise. In this way, there are three distinct atmospheres into the site.
The characteristic feature of the project symbolizes the place where the city meets the park. The result is a place which is integrated with the second floor and includes the green house. This space is a real public space that allows the visitors to contemplate the different programs of the building, while offering a lookout over the city and the Vitosha. The programs are built around this space while opening onto the surrounding landscape. This space is a true attractive lung for this project.
The project organization is a gradation of the areas related to Walltopia. At the ground floor we find the elements of program with the smallest link to Walltopia such as the Fitness Center and the Spa. These elements are facing the public space, as a showcase of the culture of the body. The restaurant is orientated towards the park and directly connected with the exterior swimming pool and the children playground. These elements of programs, symbol of the well-being and the beauty, are treated as a showcase in order to catch the eye of the passers-by and incite them to enter the building.
The first level is a multifunctional hall, and the high climbing area and locker rooms are treated as a long traffic lane serving these two elements of the program. Along this lane, large openings offer views on the activity spaces. It is a transitional space in which one’s prepares to excel. The 2nd level is structured around the green house. The most living elements of the program are there - the coffee shop and its terrace with an easy connection from the high climbing area. This space also offers an outdoor secure space directly connected to Funtopia. The green house is treated as a warm public place, crossed by a high climbing wall.
At the 3rd level we find the roof top bar and the management board of Walltopia. The roof top bar offers views on the green house, its climbing wall, Funtopia, the park and beyond them on the Vitosha. At the 4th level, all the offices of Walltopia share a large space illuminated by a patio in its center with views on the Funtopia, the green house, the climbing wall etc... A terrace is connected to the Leisure Room Kitchen in order to allow employees to relax and enjoy the views on the Vitosha.
The basement includes 85 parking spaces and most of the technical facilities of the project. The parking is accessible from the service area at the bottom of the eastern facade of the building. It also serves as a delivery area for the restaurant and is a second access for the firefighters.
The project is handled with a facade module of 1.50m with three different combinations: An opaque steel module including an insulation, a glazed module, and a glazed module with a partial shadowing part made of perforated metal. This system allows having a low cost production and an easy implementation on site. It participates to the thermal management of the building and gives life to the facade.
In the Green House and the High Climbing Area, the glazed modules operate with a different mechanical system. The module can rotate and slide in order to be stored on the sides. This system allows opening these spaces widely in order to ventilate them.
Taking into account the contextual information - climatic conditions in Sofia and site configuration - the structural constraints led us to design a compact building, with partially opaque facades. We work with a concrete structure because of its numerous properties and with low heightened beams. The concrete structure is visible from almost all parts of the building. The Green House plays an important role in the thermal comfort of the building, because it functions as a buffer space and a thermal controller: as it can be opened widely, it can benefit from heat gains in winter and participates in the ventilation of the building in summer.