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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
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.

Gym Hall in Utrecht by NL Architects

 
November 24th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: NL Architects

Turnzaal Nieuw Welgelegen, Utrecht 2009 – 2011

Turn accommodatie Nieuw Welgelegen (TNW) is a sports hall dedicated to Gymnastics. It will not be used for any other sports. Four clubs combine efforts in this new facility.

TNW is the 3rd and probably last building in the redevelopment of the sports complex in the center of Utrecht called Nieuw Welgelegen.

Image Courtesy NL Architects

  • Architects: NL Architects
  • Project: Gym Hall
  • Location: Utrecht
  • Competition: 1e prize
  • Cient: Dienst Maatschappelijke Ontwikkeling Gemeente Utrecht (DMO)
  • NL Architects: Pieter Bannenberg, Walter van Dijk, Kamiel Klaasse
  • Team: Arne van Wees, Gerbrand van Oostveen
  • With: Bobby de Graaf, Sarah Möller, Michael Schoner, Gen Yamamoto, Rebecca Eng, Joanna Janota, Jeong Jun Song, Ines Quinteiro, Gert-Jan Machiels, Thomas Braun
  • Structural Engineer: ABT Delft
  • Installations: Nelissen
  • Fixtures: Janssen-Fritsen
  • Contractor: PBO Bouw
  • Sub Contractors: Cladding Partners (Roof and facade cladding), Van Dam (installations), Smulders Duscon (Steel structure)

Image Courtesy NL Architects

The brief excluded the possibility of creating windows in the hall. This turns out to be the main dilemma for this type of facility: in order to be ‘livable’, daylight is required, but for serious training and competitions windows will cause undesired effects: too much contrast and too much distraction. Windows at eye level are not a good idea.

Image Courtesy NL Architects

Furthermore the vulnerability that comes with glass is an issue. Especially in this particular area: not long ago the streets around here used to be paved with shattered glass from cars that had been broken in to.

But the most surprising problem of windows is their transparency: the suspicion is that perverts might try to get a glimpse of the elastic girls inside…

Image Courtesy NL Architects

As a consequence gymnastics halls often tend to be gloomy.

The idea of TNW is to ‘peel off’ the skin at the top to bring daylight into the interior. By partly bending out the facade a gap comes into being between the roof edge and the walls: indirect light will reflect into the hall.

Image Courtesy NL Architects

The carefully deformed envelop creates a mildly glowing gradient that lights up towards the top.

A pleasant side-effect of bending out the facade is that the building becomes sculptural: an optimistic gesture comes into being.

Image Courtesy NL Architects

A two story service block with dressing rooms, storage spaces, technical installations is placed along side the room in such a way that the facade remains ‘free’.

A light-filled double-high corridor provides access to the changing rooms.

Image Courtesy NL Architects

Two stairs at both ends of the corridor lead to the grand stand that is placed on top the dressing rooms.

The draught lobby bends out, clearly demarcating the entrance.

The traditional material to clad large halls -corrugated steel plate- has been deployed in a blissful way: even the obvious corner profile could be avoided.

Image Courtesy NL Architects

Image Courtesy NL Architects

Image Courtesy NL Architects

Image Courtesy NL Architects

Image Courtesy NL Architects

Image Courtesy NL Architects

Image Courtesy NL Architects

Image Courtesy NL Architects

Image Courtesy NL Architects

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Categories: Gymnastics Centre, Sports Hall

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