Football Training Center, Norwich

Sports facility building for the Norwich Football Club, Project Team: René van Zuuk, Alberto Tono, Raluca A. Constantin, Design: 2016, Area: 7700 m², Building costs: € 8.000.000

In 2017, Norwich City Football Club asked five architectural firms to make a design for their new training facilities. According to the club's requirements, the site would have to incorporate three new buildings, the professional training center, the gym, and the training center for the youth. Looking at the site and the surroundings, it was decided that the most appropriate solution would be to house all these functions under one roof, one building. It is important that the building has a strong architectural form, that would be retained even after possible future modifications. The different functions are visible due to two straight sections. The advantage of these sections is that each part can be built separately, with enough space around the building plot to cause as less inconvenience as possible. When the structural part is finished, the floors and the glass roofs can be mounted. A second advantage of the sections is that the building can be enlarged in the future by using the same pattern, so that it doesn't lose its architectural form.

As regards the concept, the main design aim was the exploitation of daylight. The designed plot is 35 meters wide, which means that the center of the building doesn't benefit a lot from natural daylight. By shifting the volume of the first floor, we are able to acquire additional daylight for the ground floor, and at the same time, create an exterior space on the first floor, where the staff and visitors can overview the main pitch. Using that shifting as a pattern, we repeat the same concept on the first floor by making additional layers to bring in extra sunlight. The building has two main corridors, with windows to illuminate the rooms astride.

The gap perpendicular to the building also provides sunlight deep into the structure. Spaces like meeting rooms and bathrooms are organized along these gaps, and can benefit from indirect sun rays. The gaps between the buildings are very important. On the one hand, they allow daylight to pass through, and on the other, they allow the use of the adjacent building during the various construction fazes.