SCHIEDAM – ‘Architecture and design does not exist in a vacuum; it is the sum of many factors’ – or so says Blueprint editor Johnny Tucker. Presuming that this is the case, then a project needs space and location before it can become meaningful; it needs the ‘whole story’. Of all the places to build, then, why not on top of a motorway? No, seriously – this is exactly what Rotterdam-based studio MoederscheimMoonen Architects has done with Sportpark Willem-Alexander – a complex of football pitches, handball courts and indoor sports accommodation that straddles the A4 motorway between Delft and Schiedam in the west of the Netherlands.
‘The tunnel over the road used to form a barrier between the two adjacent residential areas,’ says the architect, ‘but the new design achieves the opposite by literally creating a new connection between the two neighbourhoods.’ The tunnel’s roof forms the platform for the new development, with an additional building built at the heart of the complex which features indoor athletics facilities, as well as accommodation for baseball, tennis and cricket. A concrete canopy structure increases the width of the site on both sides, providing extra green roofing and integrating car-parking facilities adjacent to the busy road.
A pixelated design made up of small, coloured spheres called Dedots, a new product by Dutch company Lace Fence, brightens the fencing around the perimeter. As well as providing safety from the motorway, the screen reduces the noticeable effects of the prevailing wind. ‘These pixels lend the environment its own identity,’ remarks the firm. ‘This has resulted in a functional work of art that presents an exciting combination of transparency, imagination and permeability to air. It merges everything that the project is about: nature, sports, connections and energy.’
Render – Section