The proposed design for the Italian-Venezuelan Sports and Social Center on Margarita Island, Venezuela, is based on a series of spatial and functional strategies that comprehensively respond to the needs in sports, recreational, social and cultural spaces of the Center. The topography, the distinctive vegetation and climate, as well as the solar orientation are considered in other to integrate the infrastructure services with the existing terrain and context conditions.
Based on the development of a detailed architectural program, the proposal consist of approximately 16,000 m² of sports facilities; 6,250 m² of architecture comprised of administrative, social, cultural, commercial, and service buildings; and outdoor and covered parking.
OVERALL DESIGN STRATEGY
The overall design strategy of the Italian-Venezuelan Center is organized by the introduction of a series of bands or platforms that play a dual function: first, to integrate the project into the existing topography in a natural and friendly way, and secondly, to generate the best locations for the different functions of the buildings and facilities without having to concentrate all in just one location.
The proposed platforms have an East-West orientation taking the maximum use of the terrain and visuals, strengthening the relationship between architecture, outdoor spaces and context. Also, through these bands and their dialogue with the terrain’s natural slope, the Centre offers a very intimate scale during the first contact with the visitor. Afterwards the architectural, spatial and functional richness is discovered as the user progressively runs through the set.
Within the architectural design strategy proposed, all the space and functional needs of the Centre are divided in a series of buildings that house domestic proportions and consolidate distinctive functions. This proposed subdivision responds to the need for the Centre to be developed in stages over time. The location of each building in the set satisfies the desire of wanting a progressive transfer among the public and private activities. Because of this, public programs such as the Access Hall or the Headquarters building are meant to receive and guide users in their experience at the center, and leaving the more private spaces such as the Chapel, the gym and pool areas with its sun deck, as the spaces to have more privacy and a more intimate relationship with the visuals of the site.
The role of plazas and outdoor spaces is fundamental when acting as extensions of the uses and functions of buildings. Multiple scenarios for social, business and cultural development of its members are generated when external and internal features, squares and buildings complement each other. Most importantly, the heart of the Italian-Venezuelan Sports and Social Center lies in its central plaza, setting the perfect example of the relationship between the proposed buildings, outdoor spaces and site.
Generally, in an overall design strategy for an array of buildings housing a huge program divided between indoor and outdoor spaces, the common sense will determine that arriving to a building or to the function housed by a building, respecting its hierarchy within the array, will be the ultimate goal, leaving the connecting elements to a lower hierarchical level. But, what happens if this relationship is reversed? What if the building becomes the connection element, the transition element?
One of the possible outcomes of that reversion would be that the residual spaces and spaces with main transit functions will have more hierarchy inside the overall arrangement. Because the center is not only a sports center, it is also a social center, and users who will not perform a specific function described in the sports program actually goes to the center to take part in the social activities. According to this, buildings will melt into the articulation and transition spaces, disintegrating its intrinsic function with a dual or multipurpose one.
Architecture, but specifically the buildings, will become different spaces articulators. Buildings will act as connectors, transition spaces between different spatial functions.
PROJECT BY: JOSE MUNOZ-VILLERS ARQUITECTOS + TALLER DE ARQUITECTURA SINGULAR
ARCHITECT IN CHARGE: José Muñoz-Villers
TEAM: Piergianna Mazzocca and Teresa Tognetti