Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Vallehermoso Sports Centre in Madrid, Spain by ABM arquitectos
August 6th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: ABM arquitectos
The site is located in a central area of Madrid, in the district of Chamberí. In this same place, until just a few years ago was located the Vallehermoso Stadium complex. Built in the 50’s, this complex included the locally famous athletics stadium and a number of complementary sports facilities. The installation closed to the public in 2007 and was demolished in 2008. Since then, the Town Hall is planning the construction of a new Sports Center (that is starting to become a reality after the selection of this project as the design winner) and a new athletics stadium that will be developed later on. The construction of the new Vallehermoso Sports Centre will start in 2012. It will be a gentle building in its architectural expression; it will embrace the city and it will interact with it creating a meeting point and an activity focus.
The site presents a very singular situation as it is defined by a slope of trees and plants to be protected that form a hill located at a significantly higher level than the surrounding streets. One consequence of this is that most of the building is buried behind this hill. This strategy allows the natural massive green slope to keep being the image and character of the urban net in this area of the city. The part of the building that stands out above the massive volume of trees and plants is therefore not very high.
At the same time, this visible part of the building has a façade treatment based on an outer skin that surrounds the building, made of steel tubes simulating the effect of a green forest, which makes the building to mingle with the trees to the point to be literally diluted behind them. All these aspects make the project to be very moderate in scale and also very well integrated in its environment. The building is not closed in itself to exclusively serve to the users but also has very strong relationships with the outside and the streets around it.
The location of the main entrance is at the same level than main street (Philippines Avenue) and facing the preserved old and original entrance to the complex, the Vallehermoso arch (a 60 years old concrete parabolic arch with and incredibly small thickness of less than 8 cm at its peak point). This strategy allows to this almost-hidden-building to have a strong presence and relationship with the street level and to appear behind this antique Vallehermoso arch as a clearing in the forest or as a canyon between the trees through which the users will access to the center.
At night, the volume that stands out above the green mountain will emit a soft light filtered through the latticework facade and the trees that will make the building to be perceived as a light volume that floats among the trees generating a mysterious light.
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