Balance in Relations
The old town of Gissi sits in the rolling hills of the Abruzzo region of central Italy and, at its heart, is a new gym, designed by Beatrice Comelli and Carlo Gaspari. But it is more than just a simple sports venue as it sits next to the town school and other spaces for outdoor sports, making it, in many ways, one of the hubs for town life.
The actual site of the sports center is spread across two levels, with the one level where the entrance is located and the other, the garden for the adjacent school. This layout is mirrored in the composition of the building, creating a structure where the appearance varies depending on the viewer’s perspective. The bottom level has a powerful material sense that is reinforced through the use of the dark color of the prefabricated concrete panels. The level above this is far lighter in all senses, having been constructed using a metal frame coated in white and arcoPlus®549 polycarbonate multiwall panels from dott.Gallina.
Light, transparent and insulating, these
panels - in the opal version for this
project - add an airy, luminous look both inside and outside the building. Light and shade pass through the façade panels, creating a diffused light across the sports surface indoors. At night, when the artificial lights come on inside, the whole building takes on an almost paper lantern effect that really adds to the identity of place.
The entrance is on the upper level, slightly above the forecourt, sheltered by an extensive projection of the roof. Large, glazed sections then look down onto the pitch on the lower level. The top level has an entrance hall, access to the stands and restrooms for the spectators. A flight of steps leads down to the lower level, where there are locker rooms below the stands, the pitch/court and access to the school garden. The cladding for the pitch follows the exterior trend of the double volume, with a solid section along the side and end walls reaching up to the higher, lighter level.
The entire project is about finding balance and the relationships between interior and exterior, open and closed spaces, opacity and transparency. Ultimately, the building brings new spatial dynamics into the heart of this town and creates new opportunities for the use of public space.