The spatial and material attributes of Sportium stem from the sporting mindset, that of stadiums, sports fields, and athletes aiming for the podium. The building is conceived to stand alone, and to stand out and above the conventional retail architecture of commercial sites. The building is designed to be viewed from a multitude of approach angles with a recognizable imagery, essentially achieved by continuity of the external material treatment on all facades. Crowned with a projecting roof canopy, the forty foot high central atrium clearly signifies the building entrance and is prominent both from outside and within.
Outside and inside demonstrate a straightforward and systematic material identity. The building methodology is that of prefabrication with the principal elements factory built and delivered to the site for assembly and installation. Full height concrete panels weighing thirty thousand pounds are mechanically connected to the steel structure. The exterior texture, the insulation core, wiring conduits, and openings for windows and doors are pre-calculated and incorporated into the panels during the moulding operation. The sandblast treatment creating the interior finish completes the fabrication process. The efficient nature of prefabrication greatly reduces construction costs and building erection time. Furthermore, as a result, the interior construction of gypsum walls is reduced to essential requirements. The notions of performance and efficiency, much sought after in the world of sports, are thus a true component of the Sportium architectural equation.
The Sportium design is created as a progression of scale. First in importance is the white steel building structure comprised of large tube columns, beams and cross-braces. These elements define the primary spatial rhythm within the thirty foot high volume where the central atrium reaches upward to attain forty feet. Inscribed within this primary scale is the secondary modulation composed of a tubular system of goal post inspiration. The metal components of this system are fabricated and assembled using methods and technology kindred to that of the primary building structure, producing a conceptually coherent design both visually and physically. Positioned along the peripheral walls and stemming from the central columns, this secondary system provides support for sports equipment, sports clothes, and sports footwear to a height of 11 feet. The third level of modulation is constituted by the floor furniture system designed in an identical language of tubular sections and metal grills, with these being complemented by white lacquered showcases that feature and highlight eyewear and electronic merchandise.
Most prominent in the Sportium concept are the ingredients of luminosity and fluidity. The central atrium and large corner windows allow daylight to inundate the interior while allowing the interior to resonate outside at night. Careful consideration was given to the balance of natural illumination and led lighting to ensure visual comfort and a positive spatial experience through the brightest and darkest months of the Canadian climate. The flooring materials of gray and white subtly alternate to contribute an effect of light and shadow all while referencing the linear markings of sports fields and courts. The green floor guidelines serve as a noticeable invitation to explore the vast selection of merchandise whether directly straight ahead, leftwards, rightwards and upwards to the mezzanine level. Within this environment the principle of way-steering is accomplished by the visual merchandise presentation displays. The intensive use of mannequins suspended on the upper steel grids designate locations of product type destinations of particular interest to the men, woman, and youth sporting shoppers.
The disciplines of cycling in summer and cross country skiing in winter are found on the 50,000 square foot main floor. The 20,000 square foot upper mezzanine contains the disciplines of hockey, soccer, tennis, baseball, bodybuilding and yoga. Together these floorplates combine to offer the largest of sport stores in Canada. Ever conscious of the highest level of service, the personnel of Sportium are chosen for their sporting knowledge and their present or past involvement in professional sports.
The launching of Sportium began with the intention of the SAIL corporation to found a new retail destination of significant magnitude, based on an in-depth financial and marketing analysis. The coming into being of the project took place over a period of 24 months during which the architecture was created as an integral and essential component of the new business strategy being developed. In spatial terms, the modulation of the building is determined by the basic display fixture and perimeter circulation that when multiplied establish the structural axis of 10454mm by 98425mm. The optimised structure is thus intrinsically linked to the design at all levels of the interior, the furniture and the building envelope of prefabricated panels. As such, the Sportium project is strongly akin to the notion of commercial engineering where all components of architecture, structure, interior design and industrial design are analysed and pre-calculated in advance. The prototype is devised to achieve a high level of constructive performance allowing Sportium to rapidly establish itself as a dominant retail force throughout the pre-eminent Canadian zones of Québec and Ontario. Within 30 months, the realisation of 4 stores, including the initial St-Hubert project, combines with a sales progression of 20,000,000 $ per store testifying to the strategic partnership between client and architect, where in fact architecture serves to initiate, promote, and ensure the successful business venture.
Sail Sportium Inc
CONRATH ARCHITECTE-INDESIGN INC
Jonathan Conrath, Gary Conrath, Nehad Kamel
Bertrand Dionne Inc
STA architectes, A Pomerleau struct eng, Garceau-Gallant E-M eng, Richard Belisle landscape
conc panels:Armtec, flooring:Forbo & Johnsonite, ON-LIGHT & Visionnering, furniture:SFS & Busch
Marc Cramer photograph
Indesign Conrath Architecte was founded in 1984. From the beginning, projects have been hybrid in nature, requiring an in depth knowledge of architecture, interior design, and industrial design. At this time, the principal clients of the firm are retail businesses that require distinctive large format spaces. Through the design process, prototype concepts define the marketing vision for interior and exterior of the buildings created. Operational requirements of retail commerce and land development are essential considerations that are factored into each project. The projects realised are throughout the principal Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario. New materials and construction methods are explored on a continual basis to generate the prototype concepts.