Sporthal Groot Schijn, Deurne

Compact sports hall in green environment

For the school campus of Community Education in Deurne, in the Groot Schijn Park just to the east of Antwerp, architectural studio ZJA, in collaboration with Archiles, has designed a spacious but compact sports building. Particularly striking are the layered front wall of perforated corrugated metal with an ochre-coloured wall behind, and the sloping rooflines and kinked facade profiles that merge beautifully with the play of lines in the park.

A sports park adjacent to Park Groot Schijn

As well as a large sports hall, the building houses a multifunctional Athletic Skills Model room and two gyms. From the ASM room and the gyms, there is lively visual interaction through the glass wall with both the campus square designed by Stramien and the Groot Schijn Park. The building is close to energy neutral.

Design and materials

A lot of attention has been paid to adding as much visual quality as possible to the design of the building, using methods both sober and subtle.The application of brickwork gives the entrance a refined texture, while the staggered pattern in the closed and glass parts of the front wall adds rhythm.

The blind facade includes a lower section clad with corrugated metal that has a flat ripple to it, and the corrugated sheets higher up are perforated, so that the panel behind them with its orange-ochre colour shows through in places. The sizes of the perforations and the exact shades of colour chosen are the results of precision work, but they have an intriguing visual effect of metal and warm colour, both from a distance and for visitors approaching the building. This gives the structure a face, an expressive skin. Furthermore, this kind of wall is entirely maintenance free.

Sustainability and ecological value

This is a building that largely fulfils its own energy needs and makes a contribution to sustainable water management. Rainwater is used to flush the toilets, and any left over is infiltrated into wadis around the building along what is known as the Parkvoeg, a path that runs past the entrance to the sports hall. The Parkvoeg is the connection between campus and park. The old row of trees at the back of the sports hall remains standing. One valuable tree that had to be removed was replanted on the new square.

The sports hall is optimally insulated yet still provides the necessary ventilation and air conditioning.

Silhouette and layout of the building

The Campus and the Parkvoeg have a layout based on a broken pattern that recurs in the design of the green space and paths, and in separate omnidirectional buildings. So all the structures will present themselves well, yet they can all stand in a circle around the large open square. The design has been refined in consultation with the city of Antwerp’s building quality committee.

A sports hall with an inviting facade

Rather than being a cumbersome and intimidating box, the sports hall needed to show an inviting face of its own. The two entrances on the north side are within a cut-out section of the total volume, which forms a porch. On the first floor, where the two gyms are to be found behind the glass outer wall, a staggered pattern of window frames, blank sections and glass produces a lively image. By stressing the division between the front (with the gyms) and the large sports hall behind, by means of a kink in the roof that marks the difference in height, space was created for extra daylight in the sports hall.

The large and high hall can be divided into three areas by the use of nets. The changing rooms are between the two entrances. The 35-metre wooden rafters that support the roof present an open structure for the flat northern light that falls in through the extra sections of glass in the roof.

Behind the gyms is a space that can accommodate mobile stands for spectators of the contests in the large sports hall. Inside here too, visual interaction is an important aspect of the design. 

Architect: ZJA in collaboration with Archiles architects
Commissioned by: Go!/Stad Antwerpen
Year: 2023 – present

Project: #1284



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