The new multi-purpose sports centre, Olgiata Sporting Club designed by LAD Architecture and Design Laboratory, forms part of the Rome Municipality’s Quality Green Point project to protect, upgrade and restore as an amenity a number of rundown green areas at present lying fallow at one point or other of the municipal territory.
Designed to serve the surrounding districts, Olgiata Sporting Club links closely to the local school network. The building proper occupies less than 30% of the green area on which it stands and groups together a number of indoor sports facilities: swimming, five-a-side and eight-a-side football, beach volleyball, a fitness centre and also rehabilitation and therapy facilities.
The building is formed of three distinct yet connected units. They are angled so as to exploit daylight the way each different sports activity requires, which cuts down energy consumption. One unit contains gyms, one is for recreation and management, the third covers the swimming pools. The striking feature is the mobile motorised roof designed by the architects for the pool section which can open out by a series of panels much like aircraft flaps. This brings natural ventilation indoors and cuts air-conditioning bills.
The roof springs in a boomerang curve that blends harmoniously with the surrounding greenery. Its supporting frame in laminated wood was made by Holzbau. This proves a happy choice of material, giving the right degree of airy lightness and forming a lattice for broad window-panes to anchor onto. The indoor sports are thus visually linked to the gardens outside while light filters downwards in a natural manner.
The windows are mounted proud of the wooden part. They are backed on a steel frame which keeps the differently expanding and contracting materials independent of one another and makes for a longer-lasting whole. Laminated wood is shapely, good insulation for heat, sound and electricity, and a totally recyclable product.
The wooden canopy covers every item whether on or in the ground. The main laminated beams describe a three-hinged arch: anchored at one end to a triangular plinth, they soar in a 32-metre span and come to rest in great reinforced concrete piers cast as an integral part of the bearing grid.
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