Sport architecture is booming: in the year of the Football European Cup in Austria and the Olympic Games in China, attention was also focussed on to the sports facilities themselves. But how can modern sport architecture be integrated in the built townscapes?
With its recently completed coaching centre for young footballers at VFL Wolfsburg football club, Neumann-Berking and Bendorf, a firm of architects based in Wolfsburg, demonstrates how with a clever combination of building materials, sport architecture can harmoniously blend into the surroundings while preserving architectural originality at the same time.
The building erected on the site of the Porsche stadium impresses with its dynamic shape and unusual material mix:
Clay bricks, glass blocks and a brilliant white composite system define the exterior appearance of the new building.
“Towards the Berliner Ring in the north, the building has a straight front, oriented to the historical buildings adjacent and elaborates on the architecture of the nearby Wolfsburg city centre,” explained Ralf Prinke from the Neumann-Berking and Bendorf architecture office.
The clay bricks used on the ground floor (Coloured Premium from Olfry) underscore the relationship to the neighbouring buildings. The front corresponds perfectly with the historic centre of Wolfsburg nearby.
The two upper storeys on the other hand are dashingly curved. “The building follows the curve of the Porsche Stadium in the south,” explains Prinke. “Here white surfaces dominate, structured with green glass blocks: a reference to the club colours of the VFL Wolfsburg.” The round window with integrated club emblem above the entrance puts visitors in a footballing mood.
Besides administration, kitchen and fitness rooms, the building houses 26 flats with south-facing balcony for the football boarders. And the most important thing for all up- and- coming football stars: three grass pitches and a heated artificial turf pitch on a total of 50 000 square metres.
It just remains to hope that the dynamic architecture of the football coaching centre can positively influence the aspiring new footballers’ feel for the ball.