The Malilla Sports Centre in Valencia forms part of an important urban infrastructure plan managed by the regional government. The project is based on an initiative from the Valencia Municipal Sports Federation, which has been taken up by the Valencia Region Sports Council, to develop the existing facilities in this suburb. The project was designed to meet within the strictest architectural and technical standards laid down by the regulations currently in force.
CMD Ingenieros, appointed as main designers, wanted to create a building that not only adhered to the strict guidelines but also wanted to create a facility that moved away from a standard design philosophy. Innovative can be aptly used to describe the finished structure; covering a total area of 6,000m² on a quadrangular plot, the new facility houses a full-size football pitch, a near Olympic-sized swimming pool and a gymnasium. The building is divided into two distinct parts. The southern half contains the football pitch, the locker rooms and cafeteria. In the northern half are the pools, the remaining sports facilities and the office space. The main structure is based on a simple steel frame and prefabricated reinforced concrete. However, unlike many buildings of this type, the engineers have created two aspects that make this project stand out of the norm; the main building roof is given a jagged interior profile that allows light to enter the building throughout the day and three quarters of the site is wrapped in a prominent skin that defines the volume. The meandering skin is made from perforated galvanized panels supported off a galvanized steel structure. This mini facade that envelopes the buildings helps to filter sunlight while maintaining the privacy of the interior rooms. It also helps to create an interesting texture to what may have been a fairy standard finish to the facade. The perforated panels have abstract shapes designed within them that add an almost 3D illusion of depth and movement. This is accentuated in the evening by the direction of light falling onto the screens and soft internal lighting from within the building.
Internally, the leisure centre follows a clean modernist theme. An additional feature is added by a facade that runs the total length of the main building. Formed using a combination of a galvanized steel frame and a mixture of different coloured glass panels, this forms a unique internal space. The shimmering colours that are created as light refracts through the glass helps to create a magical mixture of colours that changes throughout the day. Energy saving technology has also been employed throughout the project. The ventilation systems are fitted with heat recovery equipment in order to recover thermal energy from the extracted air. The de-humidification of the swimming pool area has been designed in such a way that, when external conditions permit, cool air is drawn into the building saving on the need to switch on the cooling compressors, thus saving more energy. A vibrant colourful space has been created by this simple, yet unusual take on a leisure facility.
Architect: CMD Ingenieros
Image: GAD Arquitectura & Jorge Ramirez