Sportcampus Zuiderpark

Creating a sense of movement was at the heart of the design concept for the building, which is wrapped in a twisting metallic ribbon

Read on turning pages | Download PDF | sign up to CLAD

Architecture firm FaulknerBrowns have completed a dynamic €50m (US$61m, £44.4m) sports campus in the Hague’s historic Zuiderpark.

Open to amateur and elite athletes and community users, the 34,000sq m (366,000sq ft) facility includes a gymnastics hall, beach sports venue, 3,500 capacity arena and a multi-purpose sports hall, as well as a variety of sports science and education spaces, including a public library. Outside, there are a series of multi-use pitches, while an animated entrance courtyard acts as an extension to the park, which is listed as a national monument.

The building, called Sportcampus Zuiderpark, occupies a site that was once home to the stadium of Dutch football club Den Haag FC. That ground was demolished in 2007 when the team moved to the larger Kyocera Stadium, designed by Zwarts & Jansma Architects.

Backing for the new campus has come from the city municipality, the Hague University of Applied Sciences and the ROC Mondriaan vocational school – with the trio stating the need for the city to have a modern, well-equipped home to train and develop sporting talent.

FaulknerBrowns – who have designed large-scale facilities across the UK and Europe – overcame five other bids to win the project in an international design competition held in 2012.

“Back when we won the project, the Netherlands and the other Benelux countries were considering a bid for the 2028 Olympics and their plans were focused on health, wellbeing and youth,” says FaulknerBrowns partner Russ Davenport.

“The clients wanted to reflect that by building something much broader than just a facility for sport. They wanted to emphasise the importance of sport and exercise through learning and engagement. Our design had to support that kind of aspirational ethos.”

To achieve this, the team were tasked with capturing a sense of movement.

“Movement was a fundamental concept for the project, but it was a very difficult thing to create internally, because a lot of the volumes are square boxes,” says Davenport. “Externally, though, we felt that a curving form would fulfil that ambition. Conceptually, we came up with this idea of having a cluster of boxes that are tied together by a ribbon that twists and changes in height. At the rear, the high-sided elevation responds to the urban element of the site, while the lower front elevation responds at a human scale to the public parkland.

“We angled the façades in the vertical plane as well as the horizontal. It allows air in and out and provides sun shading to parts of the building, so it’s functional and not just decorative. It also has the effect of diminishing the size of the building in the park. Whenever you’re looking at it, the elevation is running away from you, so it never looks quite as big as it really is. It’s like the Tardis.”

According to Davenport, the brightly polished stainless steel façade was selected to create a sense of materiality and dynamism.

“We were wowed by the material. As you walk around the building, the light constantly shifts, reflecting the sky and the trees. It changes as lighting conditions and cloud patterns alter throughout the day.

“I’ve heard a few nicknames for it already – the UFO and the Pebble – but we’ve been amazed by the positive response. Usually buildings of this type get a split reaction and we’ve not had any bad press whatsoever. No one has come out and said they don’t think it’s the right building, and for me that speaks volumes.

It was really important for us to get the right feel and image for this site,” concludes Davenport. “That was our biggest challenge.”


Russ Davenport on mixing sport and sustainability

“The municipality of The Hague has the ambition to be climate neutral by 2040. This informed the client’s desire for a sustainable campus.

“The building is designed to be as compact as possible whilst providing the necessary space for the range of sport and education facilities. This, combined with a well-insulated shell, minimises energy loss. The 20,000sq m (215,200sq ft) roof is covered with over 15,000 (161,400sq ft) of heat-regulating green sedum, as well as photovoltaic solar panels to generate energy for the building, and solar collectors to produce hot water for the showers.

“The energy generated by the roof is supplemented by a ground water heating and cooling system which utilises two wells excavated to different depths. In the summer when there is a demand for cooling, groundwater is pumped from the shallower ‘cold’ water well and fed through a heat exchanger to provide cooling for the building. Due to this energy transfer the water returns warmed and is fed back into the deeper ‘warm’ water well. In the winter the system is reversed to provide heating for the building.”

The building was designed to minimise energy loss
The building was designed to minimise energy loss
The sports campus includes a range of education spaces and a library / Photo: Hufton + Crow
The sports campus includes a range of education spaces and a library Photo: Hufton + Crow
Click on an image to open the image gallery
company profile
Company profile: TVS Group
TVS has a broad portfolio of products, including high performing shock pads, surfaces for sport, fitness and play, as well as highly specialised acoustic materials for noise and vibration control.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
V Starr Interiors, Venus Williams’ practice, designed a tennis lounge for the club and one of the hotel’s suites
DMAC’s Dwayne MacEwen
"The hotel concept came late in the game, but it was an inspired idea"

The newly renovated Chicago Midtown Athletic Club features a boutique hotel, a pool-come-ice rink and spaces designed by Venus Williams

Decq opened the Confluence Institute architectural school in 2014
Decq has been recognised for raising the profile of women in architecture
"Things have improved, but not enough"

On women in architecture

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
The Smile represented an opportunity to make experimental design accessible, says Brooks
Alison Brooks
"The profession is changing"

We need to help the public understand that architects are on their side, argues The Smile designer

worked with acoustician 
Larry Kirkegaard
"It’s a privilege to have completed a scheme of such importance to the cultural identity of Antwerp - Stuart Mills"

SimsponHaugh’s latest project

FS Shanghai at Pudong
Ed Ng
"Of all hospitality design, we feel that F&B is the most fun. You can be creative and it’s where you get all the limelight"

When ABConcept’s co-founder got The brief for the Four Seasons’ Mei Ume restaurant, he jumped straight on the plane to London. He tells us why

Theoni Xanthi Partner XZA Architects
"The design concept is to create a museum that evokes a transition in time, in space, in memory"

The vision for the New Cyprus Musuem

Designs for the Museo Nacional del Peru by Luis Longhi
Schreibeis Smith set up Vera Iconica Architecture in 2010
"Wellness is essentially an insurance policy to promote physical and mental long term health"

Raising the profile of wellness architecture

All projects begin with 
Holl painting a watercolour 
of his vision for the building
Steven Holl is widely considered to be one of America’s most important and influential architects
" What sound is to music, light is to space "

The acclaimed architect speaks to CLAD about Donald Trump, Zaha Hadid and not being obedient

cladkit product news
Matteo Thun Atelier create hospitality collection inspired by Mediterranean atmosphere
The collection is designed to integrate with numerous architecture and interior projects across the hospitality sector
Kim Megson
The studio of Italian architect and designer Matteo Thun have produced a new range of wooden furniture designed for everything ...
FAÇADE2017 winners 'diverse and remarkable', says SFE board member
Ramboll was awarded for the Blavatnik Building, Switchouse Extension of the Tate Moder
Lauren Heath-Jones
A trio of British leisure facilities have been honoured in the Façade2017 awards. Established in 2013 by the Society of ...
HawkinsBrown complete timber pool facility for 'swimming among the trees'
The space has been designed as 'a welcoming retreat that engages with the mature woodland setting through the use of natural materials and colour schemes'
Kim Megson
Architects HawkinsBrown have completed an elegant timber pool hidden among the trees for a school in the English county of ...
cladkit product news
Brdr. Krüger to exhibit at IMM Cologne
The Theodor chair was named after studio co-founder Theodor Krüger
Lauren Heath-Jones
Danish furniture company Brdr. Krüger will showcase a range of new and existing pieces at international interiors show, IMM Cologne. ...
Hotel Crescent Court opens new spa following multi-million-dollar renovation
Hotel Crescent Court has reopened its spa after a multi-million dollar refurbishment
Lauren Heath-Jones
Hotel Crescent Court, a luxury hotel in Dallas, Texas, has reopened its spa and fitness centre after completing a multi-million-dollar ...
Ma Yansong debuts out of this world furniture collection
Ma Yansong was inspired by science fiction and the possibility of life on Mars
Lauren Heath-Jones
Curation-led design gallery Gallery ALL debuted the MAD Martian Collection at Design Miami. Designed by Ma Yansong, founder and principal ...
cladkit product news
AB Concept partners with House of Tai Ping for luxurious rug collection
The collection was inspired by the idea of looking down at the world from a great height
Lauren Heath-Jones
Design house AB Concept has partnered with bespoke rug specialist Tai Ping to create Nephele, an exclusive line of handcrafted ...
Empex Watertoys partners with Singapore architecture firm on new splash park
Buds is a new splash park that caters to children aged 12 and under
Lauren Heath-Jones
Empex Watertoys has partnered with Singapore landscape architecture firm Playpoint Singapore Pte to create Buds, an exciting new splash park ...
Email this to a friend or colleague
I am happy for Leisure Media to contact me occasionally by email and understand that I can opt out at any time.
Sports: Sportcampus Zuiderpark
FaulknerBrowns’ Dutch sports facility