Gymnastics and fencing venue
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Gymnastics and fencing venue

Studio Zoppini Associati

Gymnastics and fencing venue
By Francesco Pagliari -
Fencing and both forms of gymnastics are Olympic sports where elegance, strength, coordination, reactivity and competitive spirit are essential requirements. The new gym on Viale dello Sport in Udine has been designed to provide training space and equipment areas for these graceful sports. This genuinely multipurpose centre is ideal for both practice and coaching, although the long, narrow balconies do provide some room for lovers of these sports. The building is highly visible and recognisable, located on a north-south axis with an outside parking lot on the north side. The purpose of the structure necessitates its significant bulk, but the actual design offers numerous perceptions and relations that make its somewhat less material, without crossing that bridge beyond which the edifice would fail to have a meaningful identity. The main section of the sports centre is a prism-shaped volume, with sectors with different heights, on a longitudinal axis (on the plan, about 78x32m). A smaller second section (front 21m, depth 13m, height 7m) sits perpendicular to the western facade. It is the cladding that most differentiates these two volumes. The smaller one has the entrance, with a row of vertical windows or doors on each level. The chosen cladding was black anodized steel panels placed vertically to match the glazing. The result is a sharp, tangible and distinctive shape that is juxtaposed with the larger section of the building. The starkness of this section contrasts with the overall uniformity and image of the complex. The addition of a red cantilever roof not only marks the different levels but also highlights the use of colour. By contrast, the larger section employs the cladding to make the structure slightly less tangible. Polycarbonate honeycomb panels are used for the envelope, forming a ventilated facade around much of the building. This is then decorated vertically with colour, freely using purple, blue, light blue and green, both in single sections and in clusters of the same colour. The translucent nature of the material brings real lightness to the building’s image during the day, with reflections flitting across the panels and tones mutating with the changing light. At night, the continuous line of lighting around the base and at the top of the air space between the envelope and the actual building creates quite striking effects, with the strong lighting at the bottom and top dissolving in the gentler, coloured middle sections. Consequently, the polycarbonate panels differ not only for colour, but also for light intensity in a mesh of vertical and horizontal lines. The interior is divided into three parts. The gym for rhythmic gymnastics, on the northern side, is the highest, with a shed cover. The middle section houses the entrance, offices, change rooms and bathrooms on the ground floor and the fencing gym, with related storage areas, on the upper floor. The third section, on the southern side, is for artistic gymnastics, with both a floor and spaces for the specialist equipment. The interior walls are a combination of bare concrete and coloured metal panels, which are also used on the balcony area for spectators. On the north and south facades, the structural V-shaped pillars are visible. The use of glazed sections on the lower floor allows people to see in and out, ensuring those on the inside feel connected to the surrounds and those on the outside, especially from a distance, get a sense of indistinct movement.

Francesco Pagliari

Location: Udine
Client: Municipality of Udine
Completion: 2011
Gross Floor Area: 3600 m2
Cost of Construction: 2.949.100 Euros
Architects: Studio Zoppini Associati

Structural: A.P.A. - Area Progetto Associati
Plant: Deerns

Ceramic Flooring: Florim
Polycarbonate: Politec

Photo by: © Studio Zoppini Associati 

Studio Zoppini Associati 
Established in 1961 by Pino Zoppini, Studio Zoppini Associati has many years’ experience in urban and landscape design associated with public buildings of many kinds and with high technological complexity. The expertise gained over the years in the area of sports and recreation facilities in particular culminated in winning the international competition for the design of the Oval for the Turin Winter Olympics in 2006. Recognized as the most important building at the Olympics, it won numerous international awards, including the 2007 IOC gold medal.
The firm also designed the speed skating rink and the figure skating arena for the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014, and is currently designing the Oval for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
A hallmark of the studio is its focus on designing technologically advanced buildings in which architectural quality combines with the thoughtful use of new materials and the functional and management requirements of the client. The aim is always to step beyond the pre-established models but to respond in every case to the expectations of users and the community in which the building is located, while respecting its environmental and urban contexts.
The firm works with a number of highly qualified Italian and international specialists, including structural and plant engineers, as well as financial planning and management experts.

Major completed projects:
- The Oval stadium for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, (70 million euros)
- The Oval stadium for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi (60 million euros)
- The Arena stadium for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi (100 million euros)
- The Oval stadium for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin (40 million euros)
- The Aquatic Centre for the 2012 London Olympics (100 million euros)
- The Le Mans football stadium (40 million euros)
- The Tre Ronchetti church in Milan (3 million euros)
- The Olympic pool in Rijeka, Croatia (12 million euros)
- The Sciorba sports complex in Genoa (23 million euros) - A swimming complex with projected use for the Olympics in Parco Lambro in Milan (30 million euros)
- National Guard stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
- Co-designer of the master plan and all the facilities for the Milan’s 2000 Olympic bid
- Design of a 12,000-seat stadium in Glasgow
- Design of a 12,000-seat stadium in Milan
- Design of a 6,500-seat stadium in Madre di Dio, Genoa
- Design of the stadium in Larnaca, Cyprus - Winning design in the competition for a 5,000-seat stadium in Pordenone
- Program plan for sport facilities for both the Province and Commune of Milan
- Numerous public swimming centres, including in Legnano, Cuggiono, Asti, Seregno, Lecco, Udine and Rimini

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