Copyright 2007-2012
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Salle de Sport/Sporthalle/Sports Hall

In a little over three years the Olympic Games will finish and East London will be left with its 'legacy' of new sporting facilities and large developments.

On the northern edge of the City of London, the more modest local facilities of the Golden Lane Estate are under threat of closure. The only public leisure centre in the city is hidden within the listed 1950s modernist complex and offers a 20 metre swimming pool, indoor sports hall and outdoor tennis courts. Not only does it form the heart of the estate for residents, it is popular with city office workers helping to make the estate an unusually successful public realm.

On a vastly different scale, Lina Bo Bardi's Pompéia complex in São Paulo also provides a haven for the community from a chaotic urban environment. Next to a converted factory containing cultural facilities, a silo-like concrete tower houses four sports halls stacked up on top of each other, each one named and colour-coded after the seasons.

These spaces have a potential significance beyond their functional programme and approach the typological status of the medieval hall at the centre of a village, a meeting place for many different events and activities.

The Contextualised Shed

This year the studio will propose sports halls, large span structures for indoor sports and community events. Although flexible, the shed is not anonymous but highly contextualised and with a face. Sites will be found in defined communities in and around London, requiring careful negotiation of the social and physical context.

Structure and Atmosphere

A simple and cheap crinkly tin shed is sufficient to enclose a space, but how can the sports hall be materialised with an appropriate presence and status?

We are interested in how structure and materiality can be expressed or suppressed, decorative or symbolic. The precise structural and environmental performance of the building will be considered at the same time as the atmosphere and character of the building and of place.

The method of investigation and design will be the model at different scales, from the site to the detail. The studio will continue its collaboration with furniture designers Simon Jones and Markus Bergström with a brief that explores the relationship between furniture and architecture.

Study Trip

We will visit the French and Italian speaking regions of Switzerland to see recently built multi-functional sports halls and meet the architects. It will also be an opportunity to study recreational and sports projects from the twentieth century, both outdoor and indoor, and consider their unique social and political roles.


Floor plans spring, summer, autumn, winter
SESC Pompéia,
Lina Bo Bardi
São Paulo, Brazil