ARCHITECTURAL CONCEPT The site for this project is very special. It is located at the heart of downtown Shenyang and it is adjacent to Zhongshan Park. It is a connector between the natural and urban life of the city, making it a perfect location for a sports complex and for a Chinese National Games Arena.
Our project is based on creating an artificial landscape for sports activities while also creating an icon for the Games. The roofs of the Civic Recreation Center and the Swimming Arena are interconnected to make this continuous, differentiated sports landscape connecting Park to city with cascading sports fields, pathways, and open space. This landscape features Soccer fields, basketball courts, tennis, badminton, and volleyball courts at various levels. It is connected down to the Recreation Center and Swimming Arena via ramps, stairs, and elevators. It begins to flatten out to the west, where it transforms into a Civic Square, a cultural space where people can meet, gather before events, or just hang out.
The National Games Arena is located on the West end of the site, becoming an iconic figure against the relaxed background of the sports landscape. This building is a symbol of both the Games and the new status of Shenyang as a top-ten Chinese provincial capital and international city. The building is a crystalline form, based on patterns found in nature at all scales. It features large membrane windows with views out to the Park and the city, in the historical tradition of the Chinese ‘ice window’. The patterning of the windows spreads out onto the metal panel facades of the building, erupting as zones of solar panels on the roof. The Arena is a highly flexible civic space which will draw people in for public events long after the National Games are over.
THE NATIONAL GAMES ARENA BUILDING The National Games Arena building has its main entry from the Civic Square, but it can also be entered via bridges from the sports landscape on various levels. The arena is designed for 2000 fixed seats above the mezzanine level and 2000 removable seats below. It is also designed as a standard four-sided arena rather than as a three sided weightlifting arena in order to maximize future flexibility. It can however be easily converted to its weightlifting function with a temporary wall and stage to the park-side.
With the lower seats removed, massive events can be held in the 40M x 70M space such as NBA games, Disney on ice, international conferences, or rock concerts. The other sports functions in the building such as basketball, volleyball, and badminton courts are arranged like a gymnasium rather than in separate rooms. This also allows maximum flexibility of use.
THE CIVIC RECREATION CENTER AND SWIMMING ARENA BUILDINGS These two buildings are combined into a lively multi-storey complex where people can do sports indoors at all times of the year. The Swimming Arena is located to the west end of the complex, nestled underneath the cascading sports landscape. All pools are contained within a grand open space making it a memorable and urban swimming experience. It can be entered either from the South Façade or from the Civic Square.
The recreation center is located adjacent to the Park, and has entries from the north, west, and south. It is organized by a passageway which connects the sides of the site together into a network. Sports activities are located on one of four levels, in clear groups for ease of orientation. Skylights daylight the interior spaces and offer views of people playing sports outside. Ground level functions such as galleries and restaurants cater to the general public, making the space a community center as much as a sports center.
STRUCTURE AND MATERIALS The Recreation Center and Swimming Arenas will be constructed out of reinforced concrete frame and slab construction for economy. Certain areas such as the pools and large gaming courts will feature column-less spaces and increased beam depth. Other spaces will relax back into a 7M x 7M economical grid spacing. This column grid will be carried all the way down through the parking garage in the basement. Floor materials will be dependent upon the criteria of each sport, and will range from wood flooring to specialty resilient floors. Outdoor courts above will also have resilient, non-slip ground materials specialized for each sport.
The National Games Arena will be constructed out of reinforced concrete, concrete walls, and steel frame. The long span roof will be made from deep sculptured beams which will be stabilized by interior armatures. These beams will also contain the mechanical systems of the space. The opaque skin of the building will be aluminum panel, featuring thin-film solar technology in roof areas. The transparent areas will be made of ETFE bubbles, which are pressurized with air. This system is extremely lightweight compared to glazing, and therefore requires minimal structure to support it. In order to reduce solar gain in summer and heat-loss in winter, we propose to exchange patches of the transparent ETFE bubbles with translucent bubbles consisting of multiple layers of ETFE insulated with aerogel or other high-performance insulation. The remainder of the metal panel roof will be super-insulated.
HEATING AND COOLING All three buildings will feature passive as well as active heating and cooling. Radiant floors will be used to heat as well as cool. Natural ventilation will be used in order to exhaust heat build-up in summer, through the use of openings in the glass atriums of the Recreation Center and in the metal panel roof of the Arena. A conventional heating system will be provided for extremely cold days in winter for fast thermal response time for events.