…Dominique Perrault designs a multi-function sports complex in Madrid….the new iconic landmark of Madrid stands as a powerful signal…
Nowadays the bidding process for the Olympics lets cities adorn their applications with star architects. For the Summer Olympics 2016, at the time when the first phase of the bidding process officially launches at May 16, 2007, many cities planned already carefully their campaign. June, 2002 the Spanish capital city Madrid invited several leading architects for their international competition. The winner for the Olympic Tennis Center was Dominique Perrault, best known for pioneering building as the Berlin Velodrome , Olympic Swimming Pool and has offices in Paris, Madrid and Luxembourg.
The project, does not only aims to reinforce the candidature of the Olympics, but should be versatile for profitable later on events. With these guidelines Dominique Perrault designed a multi-functional sports complex, which he calls the “Magic Box”.
This “magic box” concept includes three indoor/outdoor courts, with covered area for 20,000 spectators and many more tennis facilities, like a tennis school, and business facilities, like the headquarters for the Madrid Tennis Federation. Meanwhile the “magic” roof opens up and shapes itself to the various uses projecting a changing and lively silhouette in the cityscape. The “magic” skin is a mobile and vibrant which filters the sunlight, serves as a windbreak and shelters the sports halls in a lightweight shell.
“Even in the worst weather conditions, Madrid’s Olympic Tennis Center can hold a minimum of three simultaneous matches, the only tennis premises in the world to offer such flexibility.”
The construction started in April, 2006 with a site area of 165.000m² and build area of 80 000m² with engineering work by TYPSA and project management by LKS. The roofs of the 3 giant mobile slabs are mounted on hydraulic jacks, which serve to allow for passage of air and sunlight or avoid exposure to the rain or other hazardous weather conditions.
Together the three aluminum clad roofs provide a combination of 27 different opening positions. The “magic” roof of the central court can have a vertical opening reach of up to 20 meters while the horizontal opening can slide as much as its width. Both the smaller stadiums roofs can open vertically up to 25 degrees. They can also slide horizontally, leaving the inside of the stadiums completely open to the sky. The movements of the roofs on the scale of the immense structure throw a giant living shadow onto the landscape.
The “magic” skin is the signature of Perrault, a metallic mesh, is reflective or opaque, depending on the time of the day. In daylight, it shimmers. At night, light radiates from within, signaling the events underway inside.
The new iconic landmark of Madrid stands as a powerful signal. The completion of the project was in 2009 and hosted soon the Madrid Open Tennis Tournament May 2009. The final voting for the Olympics 2016 was held on October 2009, in Copenhagen with Rio de Janeiro as winning host just before the second host Madrid. The whole Olympic campaign may have failed, but Madrid has now one of the world’s most advanced sports facilities designed by a star architect. Even in the worst weather conditions, Madrid’s Olympic Tennis Center can hold a minimum of three simultaneous matches, the only tennis premises in the world to offer such flexibility.
Image courtesy: Perrault, Georges Fessy
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