Richard E. Lindner Athletic Center | The Plan
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Richard E. Lindner Athletic Center

Bernard Tschumi Architects

The new Lindner sports centre designed by Bernard Tschumi covers an area of 24,000 square metres; of its eight storeys, three are below ground level. The building links the south and north entrances to the university campus and provides a fulcrum for the whole Richard E. Lindner Varsity Village with its prominent three stadiums: the Marge Schott, the Nippert and the Gettler. The broad central hallway opens all the way up to the great glass skylight. These impressive dimensions make it the heart of all campus sports events, a meeting ground for students, trainers and university staff. Four of its five flanking storeys are occupied by graphics for the George and Helen Smith Athletics Museum, designed by Eva Maddox from Chicago. A six-metre screen in this museum shows short videos on the history of all sports. The multi-storey hall and the ranks of museum display cases are what catches the eye as one first enters this building with its deliberate use of depth and full natural lighting from the glass ceiling. The north-south monumental red stairway “floats” down the centre of the hallway, linking the basements to the eighth storey. It hovers in thin air, resting on horizontal bars at either end and no other visible support below. The upper floors house offices, an auditorium, the museum, shops, a gym for training, and sports medical and first aid services; the basements contain changing rooms and technical plant. The project was subject to one constraint in the form of a pre-existing underground utility space which had to be kept free of pillars and was needed for access to the loading platforms of adjacent buildings. To ensure unbroken spans, the structural system devised is a rigid trellis-like perimeter, an outer skeleton in the form of a steel triangular-shaped lattice, in which the columns slant upwards diagonally close to one another, joining into one continuous truss that covers the whole space...

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