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.
BLUE BOX in Graz, Austria by HOFRICHTER-RITTER Architects
April 29th, 2014 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: HOFRICHTER-RITTER Architects
The three-section sports hall of BG/BORG Graz Liebenau – called BLUE BOX –should be seen asan additional modulewithin the whole complex of the existing sports and school building, which functions, however, as a free-standing building as a result of the strongidentity-forming effect of itsexternal appearance.
The divisible hall, whose interior is 9 metres high, is sunk approx. 4 m into the ground, to bring the height of the building to a level compatible with thesurrounding parts of the complex andwith the local residents.
The fixed stands area is designed for 300 peopleand an additional 6 wheelchair spaces. Three telescopic seating standsenable the capacityto be enlarged by 264 peopletoa total of 566 spectators.
The unity of the hall and sports areais a significant element in urban spatial design: The facade of the hall has the samestructuredblue surface asthe sports areawith its rubber coating.The design unity thus produced createsan entrance area in the school grounds, which alreadyhas strong associativereferences to sport.The horizontal caesura inthe base, in the form of a glass band that can be illuminated,also makes thestructure appear light.
In thejointed, low structure connecting the existing building of the”old sports hall”and the newhall, the entrances and the foyer with a small buffetarea and adjoining rooms are located. Through the synergetic use ofthe existing–and nowrenovated and optimised–washroomswithin the”old” sports hall,the direct connection can alsobe justified in terms of function for external use in the form of events.
As an anti-glare measure, the sports hall itself is lit naturally from the north side. Additional dome rooflights, which serve the purpose of fume extraction, provide pleasant floor lighting.
Access is designed in such a way that, on the one hand, a strict divisionis possible between school use and externaluse by clubs, for example,and on the other hand, betweenvisitors to events and players: Externalusers and organisers/playershave access to the sports hallvia therunning track in the north of the grounds and enter the building from the new north-eastforecourt, so that the existing school building is not used and lessons are not disturbed. Access for visitors to events is via the main, centralaxisof the school grounds and through the new main entrance, on the school side, into the foyer,from where the seating in the stands can be reached and is wheelchair accessible. Pupils and teachers have direct access from the existing building via thestairwellto only thechanging rooms and sports halls.
Thebasementis used exclusively by the athletes and those accompanying them. Via the stairs orlift, you reach a dirty corridorthat leads to the changing rooms with washrooms, as well as to the building services rooms and adjoining rooms.
One of the three changing room units,which each have twocubicles, is reserved for wheelchair users and equipped with a suitable shower. A washroom and a wheelchair-accessible WC, which is also designed for general use by pupils or athletes duringtraining,complete the facilities. Athletes reach the sports hall from the changing rooms via the clean corridor.
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