Back in November 2014 the Danish architecture studio EFFEKT was awarded first prize in the architectural competition to transform a disused train shed in Esbjerg, Denmark into GAME‘s new indoor facility for street sports. This blog post will take you behind the scenes and cast light on the details of the project and the winning teams thoughts about the design.
The roundhouse-style industrial structure will be turned into GAME Esbjerg – a home for skating and a host of other street culture activities. The design restores the industrial shed’s original circular geometry, incorporating indoor facilities for transition and bowl skating, basketball courts, a street dance area, workshop areas for DJ-schools and street art as well as meeting rooms, administration offices, a cafe, kitchen, changing rooms and a large social area and reception. In the heart of the circular compound, the design features an enclosed street sport plaza and large outdoor social space.
“In their proposals EFFEKT caught the three most important elements when creating facilities for street sports and street culture: Room to meet and make friends easily, accessible facilities for both beginners and experts, as well as a whole lot of asphalt and concrete. In GAME we already dream about how amazing it will be to arrive to the courtyard and be surrounded by children and young people who roll, dribble, spray and scratch”, says the co-founder and director of GAME, Simon Prahm.
The proposal to introduce street culture into an abandoned industrial building seemed like an inevitable decision to EFFEKT: “the spontaneous and unorganized character of the formerly underground sport does not fit into any of the existing conventional sport facilities and the demand for a new type of facility is ever increasing,” says their project description. “At the same time, heavy industry is vacating the city centers leaving behind empty unused wastelands and buildings, often already occupied by skaters, street artists and the like.”
The group of donors behind the initiative consists of the Danish heavy-weighters Realdania, TrygFonden and Nordea-fonden who has teamed up with GAME to create three new street sports centers around Denmark. Contributing with half the building budget for the first of the three and the commitment to lift the operation costs together with GAME, the City of Esbjerg is a crucial partner in the project. Together the partners will offer the chance to engage in street sports activities all year round, despite the unforgiving Scandinavian climate.
“The brief was equally exiting and ambiguous; is it even possible to create a framework for the unorganized sports that thrive with spontaneous participation and fluctuating schedules? And can we do so without compromising the cultural heritage of the existing industrial setting?” Said EFFEKT Partner Tue Hesselberg Foged. “We believe that with this project we prove that we can. Rather than taking the tabula rasa approach deleting history we chose to recycle and reinterpret the circular typology of the train engine depot and turn it into a hybrid of industrial heritage and social activity space.”
The new facility in Esbjerg is now under construction, with plans to open in December 2015. The cities to host the succeeding two facilities will be selected during 2015 followed by architectural competitions.
Location: Remisen, 6700 Esbjerg, Denmark
Design Team: Tue Hesselberg Foged, Sinus Lynge, Mikkel Bøgh, Christoffer Gotfredsen, Gorka Calzada Medina, Filipa Pita, Evgeny Markachev, Yulia Kozlova, Karl-Magnus Boasson, Monica Rafajova, Barbora Jandova, Ewa Kurlanc, Saskia Wolf
Collaborators: MASU Planning, Luke Jouppi (Beaver Concrete), Rambøll, VestByg
Cient: Esbjerg Municipality, GAME Denmark, Realdania, TrygFonden and Nordea-fonden
Area: 2800.0 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of EFFEKT