guzman de yarza blache: elevated sports court in zaragoza guzman de yarza blache: elevated sports court in zaragoza
mar 11, 2013

guzman de yarza blache: elevated sports court in zaragoza

‘elevated sports court at lasalle franciscanas school’ by guzman de yarza blache, zaragoza, spainimage © miguel de guzmanall images courtesy of miguel de guzman



school courtyards are often times used for school-hour recreation space, extra-curricular activities, and gathering spaces where parents leave theirchildren in the morning and pick them up at night. the result is an overlap of activity that requires quite different spatial organizations, and often timesthe demand of the program for one function is encroached upon by another. architect guzman de yarza blache of local practice J1 arquitectos wasgiven the prompt to increase the usable area of the 33 meter by 35 meter courtyard of the lasalle franciscanas school in zaragoza to accommodatethe influx of parents without disturbing the daily sports and leisure activities. the solution is brilliantly simple: elevate the multi-use sports courtoff of the ground, creating a usable shelf maintaining a permeability for the flow of circulation. as an educational institution is rather busy for 9 to 10 months of the year, the entire structure had to be built during the summer months, which meant that the structure had to be erected in a relatively short amount of time with minimally invasive site work. a prefabricated concrete base became the most logical choice:  symmetrically-placed pillarshold up two longitudinal wide flange beams that support the court itself. a double skin metal cage system that curves inwards at the top keeps kidsand equipment in the floating arena during playtime. two removed trees originally on site are replaced by 300 different species of ivy growing outof 70-meter long corten steel planter around the perimeter of the metal envelope, eventually covering the court in vegetation within a few years.‘the whale’ – dubbed by the students – contains a ramp on either side of the structure connecting it to the courtyard and school building. beneath the construct, strips of bright colors are painted on the ground to mark the infantile play area and create a jovial ambiance for visitors andstudents as they enter the premises, with a rounded seating area hosts a variety of plants for people to sit and wait for their children to come out.



walking through ‘the whale’video © imagensubliminal



view from the wing of the buildingimage © miguel de guzman



elevation, entrance under the structureimage © miguel de guzman



image © miguel de guzman



plenty of space on the courtyard ground with added court elevated aboveimage © miguel de guzman



ramps connecting the school, courtyard, and sports structureimage © miguel de guzman



metal ramps weave over the infant play areaimage © miguel de guzman



prefabricated concrete structure was erected in a few daysimage © miguel de guzman



space under the courtimage © miguel de guzman



(left) tree columns support the ramps without taking up space(right) seating area with incorporated plantsimage © miguel de guzman



view towards the schoolimage © miguel de guzman



entrance to the caged courtimage © miguel de guzman



image © miguel de guzman



image © miguel de guzman



image © miguel de guzman




site plan



floor plan / level 0



floor plan / level 1



roof plan



















exploded axonometric



project info:



name of the work: elevated sports court at lasalle franciscanas schoolname of the studio: guzmán de yarza blache, arquitect / J1 arquitectosfinishing date: september 2012location: calle andrés piquer 5, zaragoza.spainclient: lasalle franciscanas schoolbuilt surface: 350 m2budget: 290.000 eurosconstruction: gm empresa constructoraarchitect: guzmán de yarza blacheproject architect: guzmán de yarza blachesurvey of construction works: guzmán de yarza blachecollaborators: ana guzmán malpica, julien luengo-gómezquantity surveyor: jose manuel arguedasstructure: josep agustí de ciurana, prainsa

  • Fantastic, Beautiful, Playful, Practical – So good for the students.

    Dan says:
  • I am not sure it is as amazing, the space under the new court is probably cold and dark, so they have to put lights and I don’t know in how long that plating will became just dust.
    I think a better solution would have been to do an inside court and on top to design a greener type park area, with pergolas and play areas and at the same time that overlook the other 2 courts… at least you would have plants that receive sun? I think the space would be used more efficiently in that way.
    Too late… =\

    Leeya says:
  • safety-issues? there is only one entrance / exit to the cage?

    pieter vdd says:
  • Dan, It is an urban school. Placing the court on the outside allows for visual interaction with the city. Interior courts do nothing of the sort. Also, there are many plant species which can handle lower lighting conditions – take note that the garden is on the south, where it will receive the most light. Your solution is only “better” if better means more conventional. Though your point about the space below perhaps being too dark is appropriate, I don’t think you need to worry too much about the cold in Spain.

    Stephen says:
  • Is in Zaragoza, most part of the year, you NEED the shadow

    jgmg says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

architecture news