When the Jurmala City Council asked Substance to build a sports venue for the popular Latvian sea resort, the firm designed a structure that could be open all year long in any weather. Inspired by the amber – crystallised resin of pine typically washed up on the Baltic coast, the venue’s form incorporates translucent polycarbonate cladding inside a structural framework to accentuate the building’s varying height.
Located opposite the Majori primary school, now an abandoned market place, the venue preserves the historical content on the marketplace by incorporating the existing shed into the new project. The shed sits on one side of the building and serves as changing rooms for teams and coaches, sports inventory storage and rent, and public vestibule with administrator’s workplace. The other side of the building opens toward the river. A synthetic covering is laid on the floor during the warmer months that makes the space suitable for basketball, volleyball and handball. In the colder months, the floor is converted to accommodate activities like hockey and ice-skating by adding an artificial layer of ice.
The sports venue occupies a prime location in Jurmala as anyone using the main street, walking along the river, or riding the railway can catch a glimpse of the structure. Thus, the building is a “significant accent in the city’s overall landscape, and consequently its shape and silhouette are especially important. For that reason, we looked for symbols typical for Jurmala and found amber – crystallised resin of pine.”
In addition to the building’s central placement, the project is also a rather prominent volume when compared to the surrounding 1-2 storey buildings. Substance attempted to integrate the project into the existing landscape by reducing its height. The varying height ”is a peculiar compromise” as the space inside needed to provide ample room for the sporting activities while still blend in with the shorter surrounding buildings. “The height of construction shape and the rhythm of framework constructions ensures that the object has a dynamic image,” explained the architects.
The broad-span roof structures results in a “clear and dynamic interior, while the external open-work frames significantly reduced bulkiness of the building.” The polycarbonate used in the building is 60% transparent and becomes ”an original screen of light accenting its shape in the city’s landscape” during the evening.
As seen on Arch Tracker.
Project: Majori Primary School Sports Hall
Arnis Dimins, Brigita Barbale
Collaborators: Krisjanis Leitis, Guna Priede, Ieva Dimante
Location: Jurmala, Latvia
Client: Jurmala City Council
Constructed: 2007 / 2008
Building – 305 m2
Shed – 3252 m2
Spectators’ stands – 306 seats
Photos – Substance, Martins Kudrjavcevs, Maris Lapins