faulknerbrowns' copper-enveloped sports campus in the hague embodies principle of motion

faulknerbrowns' copper-enveloped sports campus in the hague embodies principle of motion

located at the heart of a historic park in the hague, netherlands, the ‘sportcampus zuiderpark‘ designed by faulknerbrowns architects is an innovative collaboration of alliances between education, sport, sport science and the community. the overriding aim is to emphasize the importance of sport and exercise through learning and engagement, for the amateur as well as the elite athlete, using sport as the inspiration to deliver a healthier society. the 33,000 m² sports campus includes a gymnastics hall, beach sports hall, spectator arena and a multi-purpose sports hall, as well as a variety of sports science and education spaces.

faulknerbrowns’ sports campus provides inspiration to motivate people to participate in new activities
image by scagliola brakkee



english based design practice faulknerbrowns architects‘ design solution is an interpretation of the brief to embody within the campus the principles of ‘motion and activity’. this is expressed externally in the fluid movement of the elevation treatment. at ground level, the curved form of the plan is expressed by a simple plinth constructed from textured precast concrete panels. the upper part of the elevation is expressed as a metallic ‘ribbon’ that narrows and twists to reveal glazing on the elevation. constructed from brightly polished stainless steel, as the zuiderpark is listed as a ‘national monument’, the building has been designed to preserve the unique character of its historic surroundings.

the curved nature of the building creates the perception that its edges are retreating into the distance
image by hufton+crow



the curved nature of the building creates the perception that its edges are retreating into the distance, minimizing the visual scale. the largest interior volumes—primarily the areas for sport— have been situated to the rear of the building allowing for the height to be reduced significantly at the front, where the majority of the education spaces are located. the high sided rear elevation has been positioned to respond directly to the urban city context, whilst the front elevation responds at a human scale to the public parkland. here, an animated entrance courtyard acts as an extension to the park, creating a physical link between the campus and the main approach routes.

the dynamic ribbon — constructed from brightly polished stainless steel
image by arjen schmitz



during the day the sports facilities are used for education by the haagse hogeschool — the hague university of applied sciences — and roc mondriaan, and for performance training by a variety of elite sports organizations. during the evening and at weekends the facilities are made available to anyone wishing to engage in one of the many possible activities. one of the distinctive facilities on offer at the sports campus is the beach sports hall which holds enough space for six beach volleyball courts or two beach soccer pitches. a specially configured water misting system maintains the sand at the ideal moisture level to prevent the propulsion of dust particles into the indoor environment. the elite standard facility is the permanent training location for the netherlands beach volleyball team and the hague beach volleyball team; these are two of many sports clubs and organizations that are based at the campus.

the dynamic ribbon changes color with different lighting conditions and cloud patterns
image by hufton+crow



faulknerbrowns architects’ ‘sportcampus zuiderpark’ is much more than a center of excellence for sport and movement. the integration of accessible spaces for education and recreational sport has created an environment which celebrates and promotes the value of sport for the health and well-being of all. capable of hosting a variety of international standard sporting events in the public heart of the city, the sports campus provides the inspiration to motivate people of all generations to participate in new activities in the footsteps of the athletes before them.

the front elevation responds at a human scale to the public parkland
image by scagliola brakkee



the municipality of the hague has the ambition to be climate neutral by 2040. hence, the client’s desire for a sustainable campus. faulknerbrowns’ sports campus is designed to be as compact as possible, whilst providing the necessary space for the range of sport and education facilities. when combined with a well-insulated shell, energy loss is therefore minimized. the 20,000 m² roof is covered with over 15,000 m² of heat-regulating green sedum, as well as photovoltaic solar panels to generate energy for the building and solar collectors to produce hot water for the showers.

an animated entrance courtyard acts as an extension to the park
image by scagliola brakkee



the energy generated by the roof is supplemented by a ground water heating and cooling system which utilizes two wells excavated to different depths. in the summer when there is a demand for cooling, groundwater is pumped from the shallower ‘cold’ water well and fed through a heat exchanger to provide cooling for the building. due to this energy transfer the water returns warmed and is fed back into the deeper ‘warm’ water well. in the winter the system is reversed to provide heating to the building.

view of the entrance courtyard
image by scagliola brakkee

students socializing in the entrance hall
image by scagliola brakkee

gymnastics hall
image by scagliola brakkee

beach hall
image by hufton+crow

main arena
image by scagliola brakkee

the judo hall seen through the rear elevation glazing
image by scagliola brakkee



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: apostolos costarangos | designboom

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