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Multi-use trend emerges at IAKS Congress in Cologne

There was no mistaking a major theme coming through at the IAKS Congress and Awards: multi-use as a way of achieving economic sustainability, including the combination of large spectator facilities with community use. Examples included London’s legacy venues, the Copper Box, Velodrome and Olympic Stadium. Neil Fraser from Make Architects described how the Copper Box was designed to very quickly become a multi-use facility driven by the needs voiced by the local community, including schools. The Velodrome is undergoing some fit-out – a cafe and a reception desk – but most of the work is on the extended velo park next door.

The ‘New approaches to design and management’ session typified the different possible approaches to multi-use, from the architectural and engineering solution in Lille’s Grand Stade to the multi-functional training centre in Xativa Sports City in Valencia and the Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Phoenix, USA. Chairman Sven-Ake Wikers put questions about programming, energy use and identity to the panellists, whose buildings, although with varying capacities, all need to serve different event clients with short turnaround times and as efficiently as possible.

Lille’s stadium is a sports stadium, sports arena and concert hall in one facility. It achieves this through having a sliding roof and a pitch that stacks internally. Architect Pierre Ferret reported that during its first season, each half of the pitch has retained its performance and appearance due to the maintenance regime. He also confirmed excellent acoustics for pop and classsical music in the curtained hard floor ‘boite des spectacles’.

Xativa Sports City is a renovated park with 8,000 sqm covered and 40,000 sqm of outdoor athletic, aquatic and fitness facilities, plus cultural, meeting and education spaces. Architect Maria Angeles Sanchez Ortega used colour to define areas for different user groups and integrated storage for team equipment. “During construction we always tried to reduce costs to adapt the project to affordable prices,” said Ortega in response to a question on architecture in a time of austerity.

The question of finance was also fundamental to the Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Phoenix, one of 26 such centers funded by a private endowment of $1.5bn. Architect Craig Bouck described the selection process carried out by the Salvation Army, the organisation entrusted with the task of providing facilities to underserved communities, and its journey towards delivering leisure and cultural facilities, which it had no previous experience of doing. In Phoenix, the Center provides indoor and outdoor facilities, responding to the climate with shaded areas, water preservation and natural lighting and ventillation. Typifying the new thinking, the chapel is at the front of the building on the ground floor and immediately above and also at the front is a boxing gym, which appeals directly to the sporting instincts of the local community.