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Xili Sports and Cultural Center

China’s first special economic zone Shenzhen is more and more fine-tuning its urban area. Located in a residential area along the Dasha Green Corridor, which stretches from the Nanshan mountain park to the Yangtai mountain park, the soon-to-be realised Xili Sports and Cultural Centre is an experience centre for sports, well-being, leisure and culture that seeks to achieve profound connections between nature, sports and culture, thus serving wide-ranging age groups and interests.

Courtesy of MVRDV

MVRDV’s design for the densification and development of a sports and cultural center responds to the growing demand for fitness sports venues, with the intention of introducing a more fun, human, social and sustainable model that departs from populist Olympic-sized sports arenas. Exercise is still the main function here, but interaction within singular spaces gives way for more open zones, where different sports and social activities can occur. The center is an urban interface that allows for flexible use during different time frames, crossing boundaries between sports and culture, whilst strengthening the community by encouraging locals and visitors to interact in these multifunctional spaces.

Courtesy of MVRDV

“There are many of these types of buildings being built in Shenzhen in a short time, which is an amazing phenomenon in itself, so the idea was to make a collection of atmospheres in this center so that they can be distinguished from each other,” says MVRDV founding partner Jacob van Rijs. “We wanted to combine a large-scale sports stadium with a social aspect connecting it with the community. This was achieved by arranging different volumes on the site around a new diagonal (green) bridge linking the Chaguang metro station in the south, with the Tanglan mountains in the north, making this center a stage for different users – nature, sports, and culture.”

The 105,000m2 center consists of a 20,000m2 theatre-amphitheatre, 15,000m2 Basketball-Badminton arena, 10,000m2 multifunctional arena and 6,000m2 swimming pool, presenting a dynamic public space with multiple layers. During the day, on the evenings or at weekends, different groups of people with different needs, can also serve as a guideline for programming of the collective spaces. A special elevated running track is the signature element of the complex as it connects, weaves in and out of all volumes. It also invites people to go for an exciting run around the complex, relax and socialize both inside and outside.

Courtesy of MVRDV

The four main buildings all have simple volumes, with a recognizable identity forming a family of different characters, and each building has an activated roof open to all users suitable for all seasons. The theater, located inside of an open ball-like volume with space in-between the functional theater serving as a lobby and circulation space. Its large stepped green roof can be either an amphitheater or outdoor cinema.

The ‘multifunctional arena’ is a buzzing beehive of different sports activities. Each level has a certain theme, with the running track looping through and around the courts. Volleyball, table tennis, a general sports hall and a small soccer field on top complete this volume.
The basketball court is above the main venue where big matches will be held. From bottom up, there is a plaza level with lobby, and the service levels containing all dressing rooms, next to the main hall. Above this is a second basketball venue surrounded by a mezzanine for badminton, fitness spaces, and a sports bar. Finally, the pool building is a compact volume lifted up one floor from the plaza level. Below the pools are service spaces, dressing rooms and the location of the wellness areas.

Courtesy of MVRDV

Project Info
Architects: MVRDV
Location: Shenzhen, China
Year: 2017 +
Design Team: Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries, Wenchian Shi, Gustavo van Staveren, Tiantian Zhang, Daehee Suk, Duong Vu Hong, Patryk Slusarski, Xiaoting Chen, Mikel Vazquez and Bowen Zhu
Co-architects: Zhubo Architecture Design, Shenzhen, China
Client: Shenzhen Nanshan Government
Photographs: MVRDV
Programme & Size: 105,000m2 centre including a 20,000m2 theatre-amphitheatre, 15,000m2 Basketball-Badminton arena, 10,000m2 multifunctional arena and 6,000m2 swimming pool
Type: Mixed Use, Cultural Center, Sports Center

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