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Parcour Arena Hamburg 2013

This design is made together with Sinja Stöckmann during my erasmus year in Trondheim, Norway at the NTNUniversity. 


For the first time we had to deal with a real client, a fashion retailer for UNTAMED® and parkour athlete, who was dreaming of having his own arena combined with a crossfit gym, a dance hall, offices, a youth hostel and a fashion shop. Our studio was somewhat used as a think tank/experiment to explore the possibilies of this combination. The studio was devided in teams of 2 who all participated in the architecture contest for this project, which my team won. 


We were given an enormous site in an industrial area in the outskirts of Hamburg, along the Halskestraße. In order to have a realistic and economically optimal design, we opted to use only a limited part of it along the main road, closely connected to the public transportation.


Since "Parcour" was the main objective of the client, we considered it important to have the parkour atmosphere present all over the design. Parcour is an intensive sport yet also an urban art form, which can not be caught between 4 walls. It is originally practiced in the city, using urban elements which wouldn't even be noticed on first sight by the "traditional passer-by". This gives an extra dimension to the design method because on the one hand we should provide them a proper arena to give shows and have contests, and on the other hand we should give them the freedom to perform and train wherever they like by providing interesting and challenging infrastructure, as well inside as outside. 


Following this idea, we started working with different volumes in all shapes and sizes. While trying to think as a real parkour athlete, we tried to find the most challenging combinations for the volumes. Parallel with this, we worked on the program, in order to have a practical and functioning internal organization between the different functions. 


To enhance the diversity, inspired by the diversity you find in the old city, we chose different materials to use for the different volumes. They offer opportunities to the parkour athletes since a different underground asks for a different treatment. 


Combining these ideas we resulted in a playful combination of volumes, offering challenging outdoor parkour tracks to the athletes, going from beginner to advanced.


For the parcour arena itself, we thought it should have the image of being the sanctuary of parkour. It should be impressive and slightly dominant yet in harmony with the other volumes. It consists of a big cube of 30m by 30m. The walls are surrounding two rows of galleries, providing space for spectators and giving opportunities for the athletes to work with height in their workout. The ground floor is being thoroughly thought through and provided with air beds, soft floors,  foam pits, fixed and movable obstacles, etc.


This design is made with the guidance of Jürgen Johner and it won the architecture contest in Hamburg.

© Charlotte Dhollander 

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