Sport centre in Borky, on the Elbe river
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An ultra-sustainable sports centre in Borky, on the Elbe river

Great restraint and precision of form for this sports hall surrounded by the bohemian mountains


Sport centre in Borky, on the Elbe river
By Editorial Staff -

Creating a sports centre in a forest, next to a riverbed, demands great care and awareness. Awareness of the fact that the edifice will become part of a unique context that will be irreversibly transformed. But this change is not necessarily for the worse. To the contrary: today's designers are ever more careful of the dialogue with the setting, especially when nature is involved. The term sustainability is compulsory in these cases, and it is lucky that many exemplary constructions exist in the sports architecture sector.

Unquestionably standing out is one by ov-a: in 2021, after winning a design competition, this studio completed a multi-purpose sports hall with grandstand and seating in Kolín, near the Elba River. Here’s why we decided to showcase it for you.



An ultra-sustainable sports centre in Borky, on the Elbe River

The site where the Borky sports hall now stands is located on the north-eastern edge of the town of Kolín, near tennis courts and an athletics stadium. This cluster of sports facilities is surrounded by a deciduous forest and can be reached by a cycle path coasting the Elba River. Its design is inspired by the local landscape, featuring broad flat expanses, slow flowing waters and the connections to the nearby town. The outcome is in fact a low ground-floor construction covered by a projecting roof and topped by a single wooden block. The overhang that is created marks out the lower part of the building, and what could be called its ‘wooden lantern’ dominates the bottom section. Its designers have created an interesting tie between its broad windows and the Czech tradition in Sokol sports halls, which are typically geometric and naturally lit. 


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The aim was in fact to create a single level, precisely to avoid the building emerging from the flatness of its environment. Everything is easily accessible, and the full form of the construction can be taken in at a glance. Another appealing aspect is the scope to divide up its spaces as necessary. Changing rooms, bathrooms and utility rooms are located in the lower part of the building, and the entrances to the sports court are separate for visitors and players.



An energetically passive sports hall

The edifice frame stands on a monolithic reinforced concrete slab, while the vertical support structure is made up of precast reinforced concrete columns. The roof trusses are in glued laminated timber and span 32 metres. Instead, the wall infill between the columns is made up of precast concrete panels. So how is the Borky sports pavilion sustainable? The entire structure has been heat-insulated with ETICS, while sealing and multi-layer cladding have been applied for sound insulation. A solar power system serving the whole building has been installed on the roof.


Particularly interesting is the efficiency of the natural ventilation, and an innovative system enabling heating control. The interior may be ventilated naturally, while this aspect can be managed both in winter and summer through the control instruments. In conclusion, the edifice is passive, given its insulation capacity and intelligent use of thermal windows.


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Location: Kolín, Czech Republic
Project by: ov-a
Completion: 2021
Area: 2300 m2

Photography by BoysPlayNice, courtesy of ov-a
Drawings: courtesy of ov-a

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