In the district of Tincer, on the outskirts of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and close to the boundaries between the city, the mountains and the motorway, is Tenerife Athletics Centre, a monumental scale project that reflects the volcanic origin in the formalization of a crater with slopes that are enclosed thanks to the great volcanic rocks that cover it, creating an image that evokes a pyroclastic cone. This single proposal resolves a program that integrates a range of different uses, under a unifying petrified mantle and despite the size of the project, the environmental impact has been minimized. The crater provides shelter for the athletes while the raised bank provides a space for the spectator to view the competition against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. The raised wall provides different indoor facilities including a high performance centre, a gymnasium, dressing rooms, warming up track, press room a lecture theatre/projection room, opening onto the indoor space, with a capacity for 200 people, via a set of mobile screen walls.
The athletics track is situated half way up the slope on the plot, so the earth moved during the excavation and the embankment are off-set in the new topography that is generated.
The terraces, with capacity for 4000 spectators, blur into the boundaries of the plot, where the natural blends with the artificial.
The volcanic basaltic stone is the leading player in this proposal, as it is the very same stone that has been dug out from this site to act as a foundation for the great stone banks that will protect athletes from the Trade Winds when indulging in their sport.
The large open empty space that has been used to generate the “indoor space” under a roof, has meant that a large amount of basalt stone has been dug out. This stone was used in the different building units.
The embankments around the sports arena, which formalize the volcanic cone, have been built from the excavated stone blocks, which are fixed to the steeper slopes with concrete. They have also been placed on the outside face of the wall, and built as dry stone walls on the inside. The inter-cellular spaces between stones are filled with soil, to encourage the growth of native flora on the embankments.
In the area with the greatest height difference, the greater height of the embankment has been used to provide a residential area for visiting sportsmen. There are 12 apartments providing accommodation for 48 athletes. .
Another challenge of this project was to integrate it into the town layout creating of a new public space. A large, slightly sloping platform formalizes a new public square in the neighborhood.
The remainig stone from the earth movement activities has been crushed on site, and used in a 10-15 cm thick layer to filter rain and irrigation water used on the natural grass.
The ventilation and lighting under the sub-structure of the square is resolved with a passive system that reinforces a system of natural ventilation through the courtyards and overhead systems in the exterior public space.
A new urban landscape is defined with this new sports facility located on the outskirts of the city of Santa Cruz, in which the dissolution of the boundaries between the city and the territory is a key element, defining the landscape and how it relates with the natural environment and the city, which opens up to the territory and becomes a landscape in itself.
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