A compact sports hall
When the grounds of the former Eastern Gas Works along the railroad tracks in the eastern part of Amsterdam were redeveloped, space was created for residencies, shops, a music centre and a sports hall. This had to be a compact sports hall and the budget for it was not very high. In collaboration with BAM Utiliteitsbouw the architectural studio ZJA developed a design for the best possible sports hall given the location. This was achieved by stacking the different functions in a smart way and folding them around each other. The biggest advantage being the limited need for land. This left ample space around the sports hall, resulting in a square in front of the building and a generous distance to the residencies nearby.
The building is 18 meters tall and is conceived around a central hall. On the ground floor there are offices, a multifunctional space, a cafeteria and a gymnasium. A wide staircase leads to the large sports hall, with accompanying storage - and dressing rooms. During the daytime the building is mostly used by students from schools nearby. For that purpose, the large hall can be divided with movable walls to create three smaller gyms.
In the evenings and the weekends, the sports hall is used intensively for amateur sports. It accommodates training sessions and matches for indoor football, volleyball and basketball, korfball, badminton and indoor hockey. On the top floor spectators can follow the matches from the stands, that give an ideal view on the court.
The facade and the look
The sports hall is located at the end of a street of houses and in order to reduce the impact of the height and the volume of the building the design was adapted to give it an open and friendly character. First, the entrances on both sides of the building were realized with a cut out in the glass facade, thereby creating an awning and an interruption in the massive volume. By placing the cafeteria at street level behind the glass facade a visual connection is established between the square in front of the sports hall and the liveliest part of the interior. In front of the entrance a green space provides a softer transition between sports hall and street scene.
The buildings of the Eastern Gas Works were built in the nineteenth century and constructed in brick work. The facade of the Sports Hall Wethouder Verheij is outfitted in traditional brick patterns as a local historical reference. The use of brick serves more purpose than just creating a reminder of those old buildings. Just as is the case in the Eastern Gas Works buildings the bricks are laid in a variety of patterns. This visual dynamic breaks up the expansive surfaces in the facade and adds a lively and subtle ornament to this functional and basic sports hall.
Client: Bam Utiliteitsbouw
Photos: H.T.J. Bakker