Iridescent Sinuous Shapes Surrounded by Natural and Artificial Light
At the northeastern gate of Pisa, a green area adjacent to the San Rossore Natural Park has become the site for a multifunctional building for indoor and outdoor sports and rehabilitation. The sinuous structure is wrapped in a translucent curtain wall that creates an interactive relationship between the interiors and the natural and artificial light. The entire center extends over 3,000 sq. m of indoor space and over 10,000 sq. m of outdoor space. Its identity lies in the desire to create symbiotic relationships between complementary elements such as light and architecture, shadows and colors, nature and artifice and even contrasts of luminance and dynamism.
The design is based, both esthetically and functionally, on a great wave silhouette made of large white painted laminated wood beams resting on steel columns that support a large roof topped with a lawn finish. In this way, the two-story part houses activities, such as aerial dance, which require plenty of horizontal and vertical space and cooler temperatures, while the lower part is for the swimming pools, the rehab area and changing rooms, as limiting the volume here helps keep the temperature higher while minimizing energy consumption. To give users the sensation of being immersed in natural light, as if they were outdoors, the outer shell is made of a double layer of arcoPlus®549 multiwall polycarbonate by Dott. Gallina, which gives the building a celestial effect with a special silky, blurred feel. The façade actually reflects the surrounding vegetation, as well as the changes in climate and the passing of the day. “We highlight the perfect correspondence of the arcoPlus® surfaces to the expected requirements of the project in obtaining a dynamic translucency combined with the use of a lighting system,” explained the architects. “To reach this goal we carefully chose two materials that blended perfectly: one solid but celestial, the polycarbonate; the second untouchable but evident, the artificial lighting... we got a new matter, the changing iridescent material”.
Light is clearly at the core of this building, but it is coupled with an evident focus on being green as well. An earthen embankment covered with shrubs frames the green areas cultivated as lawns to host the sports activities; meanwhile, the sunlight filters through these leaves ruffled by the wind, and the visual perception of both the envelope and the interior space is constantly changing. Wood and PC are exceptional insulating materials whose performance is combined in this project with the benefits of the graphite layers placed on the roof and the large green areas. These features work in harmony to bolster the already impressive energy efficiency standards obtained with the installation of a biomass trigenerator that, among other uses, provides hot water for the swimming pools. The intrados of the roof, which appears as a luminous curtain protecting the various activities, is actually a curved suspended ceiling made with the arcoPlus®6124 modular connection system in opal polycarbonate to hide the LED lighting system.
To maintain maximum homogeneity, this solution also extends to the interior, where all the polycarbonate panels are backlit to ensure light diffusion and visual comfort. A special electronic IT control system means the artificial light on the ceiling is the same as that on the external translucent walls, with continuous adaptation. TectonLed technology is incorporated into the envelope paneling, which changes color and intensity as the sunlight shifts through the course of the day.