5 December 2019 • Arie Verhoef
Zuiderpark Sports Campus Wins Architectural Prize
Renowned architect firm FaulknerBrowns from Newcastle upon Tyne across the pond are thrilled to have been presented with a Golden Award during the IOC IPC IAKS Architecture Awards in November for their Zuiderpark Sports Campus project. It all happened in Cologne, where alderwoman for Welfare, Youth, Public Health and Sports in The Hague, Kavita Parbhudayal, accepted the award.
She tweeted about the award in one word: ‘Proud!’ This is not just any prize: the judges evaluated 98 projects on all five continents. Every single project was a triumph of architecture in countries like Malaysia, Mexico, Namibia, Taiwan, Qatar, Australia and the US. In Cologne, the judges presented seven Golden Awards, six Silver Awards and seven Bronze Awards.
And one of those seven Gold Awards went to Zuiderpark Sports Campus. This is by no means the first time the building has received a prize (see text box), but never before has such a prestigious award been presented to this project by Faulkner Browns architects. The firm have let us know that they are extremely proud of this ‘highest possible honour for the design of sports, leisure, and recreational facilities’.
At the moment, Joost Muiser is the programme manager for the Housing Masterplan at the Hague University of Applied Sciences. From early 2014 until recently, though, he was the THUAS project lead for the newly developed Zuiderpark Sports Campus. The project has become like his baby and he positively glows when the topic turns to the sports campus.
Joost: “I think this award is a fantastic gift to a wonderful project. It is a reward for everyone’s hard work over the past few years. So many people contributed to the realisation of the FaulkerBrowns design and this award is confirmation that they created true beauty in Zuiderpark.”
Attractive and Exemplary
Back to Cologne, where the IOC IPC IAKS were gathered. Those abbreviations are true tongue-twisters, although most of us know the first one quite well. The three acronyms belong to the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee and the International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities. These organisations strive to stimulate excellence in the visualisation and design of indoor and outdoor facilities which are accessible to all.
Together, they created the prestigious IOC IPS IAKS Awards to honour, among others, architects who develop attractive and exemplary sports, leisure and recreational facilities. Facilities such as the Zuiderpark Sports Campus, which does not merely host a number of sports clubs, but also the Municipality of The Hague, the Mondriaan regional training centre and the Hague University of Applied Sciences.
Joost Muiser: “The list of prizes awarded to Zuiderpark Sports Campus in a relatively short period of time, is quite impressive. But the most impressive entry on that list is the IOC IPC IAKS Gold Award. I know FaulknerBrowns and I am positive that they have been aiming for this award for a while. Now they can add it to their trophy cabinet.”
Ingenuity and Grace
In such a competitive field, it is interesting to know why the judges felt that the Zuiderpark Sports Campus deserved a golden award. The jury report is quite clear on that:
“Zuiderpark Sports Campus is a prime example of what can happen when a university of applied sciences, sports institutions and a city work together to create an exemplary sports facility which is accessible to all. The location within the Zuiderpark provides the sports facility with a prime spot in the city as well as a historic opportunity to become the central facilities location for an entire neighbourhood. Despite its sizeable footprint and ambitious programme, the design team managed to scale down the facility’s volume so the building does not overwhelm its natural surroundings. Every space is used fully and supports the building’s main purpose: to motivate a wide target audience to start moving and start living healthier lives. Zuiderpark Sport Campus achieves this objective through a combination of ingenuity and grace.”
If you’d like to read the full report, it was published in SB Magazine number 5, a leading journal on the architecture, construction and operation of sports and leisure facilities.
Meanwhile, it seems as though the characteristic golden brown edge of the sports campus has become even more shiny. Inside the campus, it’s business as usual and sports as usual. Since the Zuiderpark Sports Campus will be one of four locations for the 2020 Invictus Games (to be held between May 9 and May 16), the facility will gain worldwide attention once more.
Zuiderpark Sports Campus has been awarded a number of prizes. Below is a historic overview:
- IOC IAKS Gold Award
IOC IPC IAKS Architecture Prizes 2019
- International Civic Trust Award
Civic Trust Awards 2019
- World’s Best Sports Building – Highly Commended
World Architecture Festival 2018
- Architecture Winner
German Design Awards 2018
- Sports and Recreation Award
Construsoft BIM Awards 2016