21.12.2007

Soccer field, Palencia

A soccer field has a fundamental and obvious function: to play soccer. But it also has two more functions that are not so evident but no less important. The first has to do with representation. A soccer field has become a work with certain iconic potential for the city.

It can be a landmark, a building that is important not only for its quantitative characteristics, but also for its qualitative ones, a container for the dreams of the people. The second aspect stems from an obvious question: An area with the dimensions of a soccer field takes up a great expanse, which is used only on occasion. Doesn’t this result in a waste of space? The answer is clearly yes.
This basis of this proposal rests on the belief that a soccer stadium is more of a building than an element of infrastructure. It is a building that can be taken advantage of to house other uses, but that above all, can and should recuperate a civil role. The project proposes perimeter offices and other public uses on the ground floor, all designed as a great urban «showcase» with direct and immediate access from the street. Internally the stadium is a large ‘surprise void’ where in addition to soccer games, a variety of public spectacles can be enjoyed.
The residential setting in which the work is sited almost obliges one to recognize its condition and propose and urban building. The great scale of the building is derived from a structural language is hidden by the perimeter, a perforated aluminium cladding that in addition to creating a rich dialogue of views between inside and outside. This skin fulfils the challenge of transforming the stadium into a city building, that in spite of large size achieves integration with its context.
The towers, necessary to illuminate the field, have the most symbolic roles. Lit, like large minerals with sculptural qualities, these towers can be seen from several kilometers away, establishing a dialogue in the landscape with Palencia’s Cathedral. We are committing to the concept of stadium as urban building, without abandoning its festive character.
The soccer stadium is specific both conceptually and functionally. The public entrances are directly accessible from the street. The grand, gently sloping ramps are located at the corners and become the main entrances. The rest is organized along the perimeter in compliance with requirements for rapid evacuation. A system of parallel circulations function in parallel, and are superimposed, to allow the stadium’s various uses to function independently of one another, the sporting functions and the offices.

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