TURNinHOUT

Sustainable and circular sports complex with sports hall and classrooms

Archi­tecture Interior design

Wood constructions New learning spaces

As a replacement for the too small and outdated sports hall in Turnhout, the city council requested a new and larger sports hall with 8 extra classrooms for the Sports and Trade School. It is important for the City of Turnhout that the new building is an example for circular construction and sustainability.

The new location was demarcated by the city in the park, within walking distance of the Sports and Trade School and the Turnhout primary school. In this green landscape, the design team, RAU Architecten and VIVA Architecture, see the sports campus as a guest. The impressive trees create open spaces of different sizes in different parts of the park, like rooms in the landscape. RAU and VIVA are creating a new room for the sports complex, which will look like a “sports park”. The sports activities of the students and sports enthusiasts should be visible as much as possible, because seeing sports makes sports! That is why the design team foresees a variety of sports not only indoors, but also outdoor.

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Central to the design is circularity and sustainability on the one hand, and the budget on the other. The choice for a wooden structure follows naturally from this, given the positive CO² balance of the material. In addition, the lightweight, extremely fast and quiet construction site are just a few of the positive properties of wood, which ensure that the environment (nature, students, local residents, walkers, etc.) is disturbed as little as possible. The aesthetic qualities of timber construction are fully exploited by exposing the wooden structure in the interior. Hence the project name TURNinHOUT: this is a hint to sports in the forest and the wooden construction of the sports hall and classrooms.

In terms of facade finishing, we opt for a simple and removable panel that combines load-bearing capacity, finishing and insulation in one operation. The material gently reflects the green environment.

The building will be designed and dug in as compactly as possible, so that the footprint of the complex will be smaller and the building will have a minimal impact on the beautiful nature. The sports complex blends in better and looks less colossal. Only the climbing wall protrudes from the volume like a “beacon”. The compactness results in a sustainable and cost-efficient building. With the soil we extract from the excavation, we create strategic mounds around the building. Passers-by can easily look inside with a broader view of the sports hall from above.

VIVA and RAU give the beautiful, existing avenue a new life as a majestic entrance to the sports complex and as the foundation of all circulation inside the building. The circulation within the new complex is on the same axis as the lane and is materialized in a transparent finish. The visitor can look straight through the building from the lane, into the forest behind the sports complex.

Location : Turnhout
Area : 6.500 m²
Date : 2021 - 2022
Award : 2nd place in the competition
Client : City of Turnhout
Team : RAU Architecten, NEY Partners WOW, Daidalos Peutz, Asbt, Boydens Engineering, Kris Schurmans
Photography : VIVA Architecture, RAU Architecten, Frontop

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