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Zero to Hero – design a venue for our fantasy games

In an Olympic year and with a Commonwealth Games due to be staged in two years’ time, impress us with a bold, temporary sporting arena in Edinburgh or London for a chance to win a £2500 prize

Metabolist joy: Festival Plaza, Expo ’70, Osaka. West side view with tiers of spectator seating by Arata Isozaki, Kenzo Tange & Atsushi Ueda.
Metabolist joy: Festival Plaza, Expo ’70, Osaka. West side view with tiers of spectator seating by Arata Isozaki, Kenzo Tange & Atsushi Ueda. Credit: Architectural press archive / RIBA Collections

Sport can bring a city to life. We are asking you to do the same through designing a temporary sports venue and take your site from Zero to Hero. With Paris in the spotlight this year as host city of the 2024 Olympic Games, it will be showcased to a global audience of billions. Remember the 2012 London Olympics, when the city became the backdrop for the staging of volleyball, archery and equestrian events in ‘pop-up’ venues across the capital? When the Marathon comes to town, the city becomes a stadium for this ancient challenge.

The fate of the 2026 Commonwealth Games is in limbo since the Australian state of Victoria decided to withdraw from hosting the event last year, leaving the 5000 athletes from 74 countries without a city in which to compete. London mayor Sadiq Khan and Scotland first minister Humza Yousaf both offered to step into the breach as hosts, but the UK government ruled this out, confirming its aim that the games be run in another member state.

While we wait for the outcome of real negotiations, RIBA Journal and West Fraser are asking you to imagine that Khan and Yousaf have had their offer taken up, as we posit our fantasy games, to be staged in London and Edinburgh.

The challenge

RIBAJ and West Fraser are asking you to design a demountable sports venue, sitting somewhere within either city, to house your  chosen sport and be watched by an audience of at least 1000 people. Perhaps the venue is for beach volleyball, netball or basketball, or a start/finish grandstand for a cycling or rowing event. It may allow people to watch court sports such as tennis, badminton and squash; or, like Magma Architecture’s temporary venue for the 2012 Olympics, shooting or archery.

We have three requests. First, whichever sport you choose, we ask that the structure be constructed out of SterlingOSB Zero board or, alongside other materials, that it be a significant constituent of the design. Secondly, that any design takes account of the site context in which you have chosen to place it. How does your proposal respond to being in London’s Parliament Square or on Waterloo Bridge, Edinburgh’s Princes St Gardens or Calton Hill? And thirdly, that the proposal be playful, reflecting the nature of the sport it showcases.

This is an ideas competition, so use your imagination – whichever sort of venue you design. We expect the winning entries to recognise the innate qualities of the chosen site while creating a pop-up venue for its sport that has a drama all its own. In our bid to host a fantasy games, create something heroic from SterlingOSB Zero for the chance to win £2500.

Arboreal drama: Frank Gehry’s 2008 mass timber Serpentine Pavilion, London.
Arboreal drama: Frank Gehry’s 2008 mass timber Serpentine Pavilion, London. Credit: Christopher Hope-Fitch / RIBA Collections

Judging 

Chaired by the RIBA Journal, judges will look for contextual and playful responses to the competition brief that also makes best use of SterlingOSB Zero in its specific context. Pre-fabrication or CNC fabrication to create novel forms will be considered. While other materials may be an integral part of any proposition, the design needs to make good use of SterlingOSB Zero.

In this ideas competition, the winning proposal will be the one that, in the view of the judges, unites the programme for an eye catching temporary sports venue with the appropriate material use of SterlingOSB Zero. Siting of the venue, and how it informs the design, should be considered.

For sports court/games area dimensions, refer to the New Metric Handbook or Neufert. As an ideas competition, audience seating areas need not meet design guidance but should have accessible areas.

Judging

The panel will be chaired by Jan-Carlos Kucharek, deputy editor of the RIBA Journal and include Claire Ironside, marketing executive, West Fraser Europe

Deadline
Entries should be received no later than 14:00 BST on Monday, 17 June 2024

To enter
https://riba.wufoo.com/forms/z1fnmhx515zu6zh/

  • Entries must include the following, laid out on no more than two A3 sheets, supplied as pdfs and uploaded to the official entry website:
  • Plans and sections explaining the nature of the temporary sports venue, its programme, structure, and material choices.
  • 3D axonometric or internal perspectives that best convey the nature of the temporary sports venue.
  • Any supplementary images to best convey your proposition.
  • An explanation of no more than 500 words should be uploaded to the website entry form describing the choice of sports venue and the core ideas on the design concept, its siting and layout.

Enter now

 

Magma Architecture’s bold, temporary, PVC-covered shooting venue for the London 2012 Olympics.
Magma Architecture’s bold, temporary, PVC-covered shooting venue for the London 2012 Olympics. Credit: Hufton and Crow

Notes

  • The judges’ decision is final
  • First prize £2500. Three Commended prizes of £500.
  • No correspondence will be entered into by the organisers or judges regarding entries or winners.
  • Shortlisted entries will be notified in writing.
  • Shortlisted entries will be invited to the winners’ announcement and prize-giving event on 18 September 2024.
  • By entering the RIBAJ competition, West Fraser has your agreement to use your name/company name and collateral in material produced by West Fraser’s  marketing agency – videos, interviews, case studies, images – for West Fraser’s website, social media, digital and print media titles.
  • Questions to ribaj.zero-to-hero@riba.org

 

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