Paddle Special: Paddle Pisa, a project of Gau Arena – Sport & Impianti

It is with great enthusiasm that at GAU Arena we present this project that will be real innovative model in the field of sports centers. A center dedicated to a rapidly expanding discipline such as paddle, but which will offer a 360-degree experience.
A project that is completely open to the city and will be connected to a framework of spaces for public use such as living paths and equipped green areas.
A functional and recognizable architecture modeled in green has been chosen, which allows the user to enjoy the whole complex before and after the game thanks to services such as the restaurant, the shop, the gardens and the outdoor fitness areas.

Arq. Gino Zavanella,
arc. Riccardo Cefarelli

The great development of the trend linked to this sport has invoked these types of options with the awareness that this work can represent a real flagship for the whole community.
Much attention was paid to the design process so that the new center is fully modeled with the territory; for this reason the project is aimed at very limited maximum heights (a single level of buildings from 3.80 to 4.20 meters), the use of simple materials, facade colors similar to those of the surrounding buildings and a massive use of vegetation.

According to technical and economic studies and comparing with similar centers in Italy, it was decided to add approximately 327 square meters of support space to the “sports area”.
The spatial distribution of the site was studied, favoring positions closer to the tracks for the noisiest functions, moving to thus respecting the habitability of the inhabited center; it was decided to concentrate the building built on the east side of the site, clearly visible from the entrance.
The eastern area, along the Via Vecellio, houses the car park and services related to sports activities: the user is greeted in a reception / shop / central office space (about 40 square meters) where you can reach the bar-restaurant. (60 m2) by a glazed corridor or heading to the sports facilities and changing rooms.
The spaces between the parking area and the fields will be permeable with an interesting alternation between visual, green and built axes. Once past the building through the green corridors, the user will find himself in a filter garden that will house a viewpoint area to support the refreshment activity; this space for relaxation before the game will be real beaten heart of the sports center, in the awareness of the synergistic force that a natural environment can give to such activities. From this intermediate green space, the paths will lead to the sports area where we find 6 outdoor tracks and 4 tracks covered by a tension structure with removable sheets.

The main design options

The development of the buildings is articulated but unitary, with the aim of creating a dynamic design, aesthetically pleasing but respectful; the use of large windows makes the built parts light and transparent, ensuring a continuous visual connection with the sports green area and the outside.
All spaces will be accessible without any architectural barriers.
The use of materials with respectful materials and colors with inherent characteristics of durability, resistance and maintenance has been studied in detail, with the use of natural cement effect plaster on the façade.
The exterior paving of the roads will be made of smooth concrete with a gray / brown effect. This guarantees feeling of continuity with the vegetation used for the gardens and perimeter parterres of the lot. We opted for an organic design of the roads that recalls the shapes of the territory, with a main axis highlighted by the access road to the 4 central fields: this will frame two steel steps that serve the two main fields and lead to the area of ‘welcome. the traction structure.


The welcome block will be the first distinguishable function once inside the complex. This will be reported through logo and references and will be securely connected through canopies to the locker rooms and gymnasium blocks. Once past the door of this reception, the user will find small stands dedicated to the Pro Shop and will arrive at the control / information desk with an employee; from here, depending on your needs, you can access the bar-restaurant by a glass corridor or by the protected outer path that connects the changing rooms. A small office space with toilet will be created behind the reception area.

The use of large windows in this first block it allows both the user to see the back gardens directly from the car park, and the person in charge to have full visibility of the external situations (even from the office). This strong transparency was intended both to give light and freshness to the interiors and to characterize the architecture in a light and permeable way to the outside. The access and exit openings will be size for people with disabilities.
The two changing rooms for men and women complete the development of the building to the south. A transverse step allows users to have a direct and independent connection with the garden area and the fields. Two separate changing rooms for men (65 m2) and women (55 m2) have been proposed, which are also accessible and usable by people with disabilities and which are sufficient for the maximum use of the center. She placed one maximum attention in the internal division of functions: the toilet area is close but completely separated from the shower area to minimize the possibility of infections and bacterial spread.

The snack bar building has been set up to allow users to cool off and relax before or after the game. It is a space directly connected to the operation of the sports center.
The project involves a building with a maximum height of 4 meters, therefore a little slimmer than the remaining blocks. The facade of the building is included within a single brief protrusion that surrounds the building and that it is satisfied with the viewpoint to cover the outside tables.
The contemporary trend of this type of sports center leads us to install outdoor spaces to cool off and relax, which is why it is planned to exploit the green space towards the fields in order to ensure a protected area, protected by greenery, shaded by the porch and above all away from traffic at the entrance to the car park. The bar-restaurant building will include a small kitchen space adjacent to a loading and unloading area and an accessory space.

The central gardens and vegetation

The real heart of the project will be the central gardens that will be embraced and shaped by the buildings, shielded by trees and hedges on the perimeter of the site and open to the playground.
They will be characterized by the presence of pedestrian routes in smooth concrete with a natural effect that will act as a link between the closed functions (changing rooms, reception, car parks, refreshments and gym) and the playgrounds, designing green flower beds.
A green area for public use was flanked at the southeast corner by the Vecellio road adjacent to the two pre-existing municipal plots. This area, according to the legislation, will be for public use and its operation will be independent of the sports center. It will host a garden with seats and tall trees and will guarantee an important space for the relaxation and rest of the inhabitants of the neighborhood.
A buffer zone has been designed along the perimeter of the site, dedicated to the living path with some open spaces used as a gym. This interesting path will be sewn and connected with the existing cycle and pedestrian viability, and connected with the new green area for public use, in order to create an important continuity and unitary green perception.

The area of ​​the playing fields

Intentionally placed in the central part of the site, the field area is sewn into the garden area by a pedestrian connection, which represents the longitudinal axis of the project. This will be interspersed with parterres, and will serve all the playing fields.

The two fields to the north considered “main” will be of super panoramic type and will have the characteristic of having the structure with glass corners for the total immersion of the spectator in the game. The other fields will be made of dark steel structures anyway. The avenue flows into the western part of the site will host 4 covered tracks steel tensioning structure, shielded on the roof by removable sheets and folding curtains on its perimeters. All central playgrounds will comply with current regulations regarding dimensions, shapes and minimum distances and will be surrounded by synthetic turf ground to ensure aesthetic and functional continuity with the playing field.
The paving of the fields will be done textured synthetic turf blue coloration.
All fields will be equipped with lighting with design poles.
Next to the locker room block, a building will be built for nursing, a locker room for monitors and technical rooms.

The weather

The bureaucratic process began in September 2021 with the submission of the application for a building permit. Since the area is a green sports area for public use, the project has been designed to guarantee a percentage of the plot that will be allocated to spaces for the community. Therefore, a unitary project and a larger project were presented that would include not only the “private” sports area but a perimeter ring of the life path that will lead to the public green area near the Via Vecellio.
The building permit has been issued in January 2022; Work officially began on March 21 and the sports center is expected to open in July 2022.

(Drawings and rendering: GAU Arena).

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