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MVRDV win competition for 'fun and human-centric' Shenzhen sports and culture complex

The idea was to make a collection of atmospheres in this centre so that they can be distinguished from each other. We wanted to combine a large-scale sports stadium with a social aspect connecting it with the community
– Jacob van Rijs

Dutch architects MVRDV have won an international competition to design a sports and cultural complex in Shenzhen, China, which will be navigated via a weaving elevated walkway.

The Nanshan district government has tasked the studio, and local firm Zhubo Architecture Design, with creating “a social and well­being focal point” for the community in the country’s fastest-growing urban region.

Located in a residential area which stretches between two mountain parks, the Xili Sports and Cultural Centre will bring together a wide range of activities in a new experience centre. There will be four distinct volumes: a 20,000sq m ­amphitheatre; a 15,000sq m basketball, badminton and fitness arena; a 6,000sq m swimming pool and wellness building; and a 10,000sq m multifunctional sports arena featuring facilities for volleyball, table tennis and football among other sports.

Locals and visitors will be encouraged to use each facility, travelling between them via the elevated running, which will wind in and out of all the volumes. Each building will also have an activated roof open to all users through all the seasons, hosting things like outdoor cinema screenings.

The concept of MVRDV’s design was to introduce a “fun, human, social and sustainable model” that meets the rising demand for sports and fitness facilities while departing from the Olympic-­sized, high density arenas currently being built across the region.

“There is now a need for a more human-­centred approach,” said the studio. “The challenge was to go from bigness to compression through understanding urbanism.”

Founding partner Jacob van Rijs added: “The idea was to make a collection of atmospheres in this centre so that they can be distinguished from each other. We wanted to combine a large-scale sports stadium with a social aspect connecting it with the community.

“This was achieved by arranging different volumes on the site around a new diagonal green bridge linking the metro station in the south with the Tanglan mountains in the north. This centre is a stage for different users, mixing­ nature, sports and culture.”

MVRDV have designed a number of projects merging culture, fitness and wellness – including the recently-completed House of Movement and Culture in Copenhagen.

MVRDV  architecture  design  Shenzhen  China  Nanshan  Jacob van Rijs 
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FEATURE: In conversation – MVRDV’S Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries

Dutch architects MVRDV have won an international competition to design a sports and cultural complex in Shenzhen, China, which will be navigated via a weaving elevated walkway. The Nanshan district government has tasked the studio, and local firm Zhubo Architecture Design, with creating “a social and well­being focal point” for the community in the country’s fastest-growing urban region. Located in a residential area which stretches between two mountain parks, the
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The concept of MVRDV’s design was to introduce a 'fun, human, social and sustainable model' / MVRDV
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Les Mills International
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