Arena

Arena

City Sports Hall Varaždin

As the ‘leitmotiv’ of which they were inspired, the author’s used what they found at the construction site – a patch of wood that had been cleared away, in order to allow the construction of a new building. They called it ‘the clearings’ or, in German ‘Lichtung’. In Germanic mythology it’s about almost mythical place, the meeting place of people and rays of the sun with the ground, and the morning fog and dew that remains after the fog disappeared… ‘Lichtung’ is the synonym or means the same thing as ‘being illuminated’, dark forest is opened and filled with light; the very spot where it’s changes it’s features and other activities were to be allowed(Dichter der Lichtung).

We mentioned it, on the first place to explain the concept of setting up the hall with distinctly urban functions, but settled in still non – urbanized environment. Furthermore, the nearness and the contact with the river and the Drava Lake are almost of a spiritual, metaphysical essence. It is present, but indirectly. At contact on the clearing of the river, often is thought of the settlements along the river positioned on the columns, i.e. the residential platforms that were raised above the level of inundation, so that people were on dry land. At the respective location it was not possible to build such an object, so the authors have introduced these two elements – the forest and the river – as elements which served as a links to the concept of a problem-solving approach of the city hall. Another paradox to which the architects were faced upon was the elocution that the building had to be the ‘urban’ Hall.

According to the program, the building has to identify highly urban qualities. Essentially the Hall serves as a generator of a new urban area along the industrial zone – the bus station and campus are in the immediate proximity, in virtually untouched forest (which will remain during later exploitation) It is anticipated that the future use of the Hall will largely depend on how the people from Varaždin will accept the hall as a part of the city. The given invitation for tenders focused on the multiple use of the Hall, so the place would came alive as a part of a city. Alongside the Hall, the designers set the other urban elements that residents would be able to use in their free time. These are the external edifices like a) outdoor terrace in front of the Hall, which stretches like a promenade in the direction of NW – SE that was set onto a raised elevation and it has an access over the stairs that were placed at the end or the ramp, or it can be accessed via the square, which has the same width as the Hall has. The ramp (promenade) separates and connects the two units of forests and the river, and through it joins the other elements, such as sports events and sports in general, but also the other recreational, catering facilities, commercial trade and also cultural facilities. b) As the second element we would like to add an already aforementioned square by which the pedestrians are introduced when coming from the campus, but also from the direction of the bridge (from the pedestrian path along the bank) to the Hall contents. However, on this way an even more pronounced terrace facing the river is created, over which it can be enabled the descent to the river itself.

The building the Hall itself was designed in a similar way – to permit visual contact with nature and to further emphasizes the connection between the river and the forest. Commercial facilities are placed parallel to the promenade, but also beside the river flow on direction on the embankment or canal. Such facilities were set loose to enable the view of the inner hall, which was also placed across the total width and parallel to the outer promenade. In the scope of the commercial programs, the staircases were envisioned to reach vertically the contents on the floor, i.e. VIP lounge, conference room, a press conference hall and the accommodation rooms for the work of the journalists. An additional element that was introduced is a bypass passage around the halls, which are oriented perpendicular to the entrance hall. They serve not only to communicate the spectators to the stands, but also during the free time can be used for various other activities, as well as enabling the light that passes to the internal volume of the hall. Shaping the hall was carried out by a three-part that was vertically separated – the base of the building, rectangular glassed openings for the incoming light / major communication edifice, and a ‘cap’ (roof) of the hall. The hall’s base is entirely made of concrete, first floor was made of glass, and the upper part was designed as a compactly closed volume with the openings (gaps) for the sunlight.

Our goal was to introduce the brighter colors to reflex daylight and that the sunshine could reach deeper into the forest, and then the hall would become a part of the future urban fabric. The bypass as well as the caesura of the large volume was introduced, so that the same would be visible from the human scale perspective. Therefore, that element was designed to allow access to the ‘very heart’ of the hall.

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