Photo © Shuhe Photography
Photo © Shuhe Photography
Photo © Shuhe Photography
Photo © Shuhe Photography
Drawing © KSP Jürgen Engel

Tianjin Sports Arena

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Tianjin, China
Tianjin University Department of campus construction and planning

The building is 120 meters long, 58 meters wide, and located in the northeast of the Tianjin University campus. Situated at the junction between the campus and downtown the new building is an important link in the urban structure. The Sports Arena has a distinctive feature in the form of a translucent sheath made of gold-colored perforated sheet steel panels, which form a rhombic structure and emphasize the Arena’s dynamic, powerful shape. Punching tools were made specially to produce the perforations, which, with their triangular shape, take up the format of the panels. A special effect adds further emphasis to the spatial depth and the lightness of the metallic façade, which is mounted some four meters in front of the actual outer wall: an enlarged likeness of the structure of the translucent perforated sheet steel façade (comparable to that of a silhouette) in the form of a black-and-white print was transferred to the outer wall of the hall. The overlapping of these two levels – the perforated sheet steel façade and the likeness of it – produces a Moiré effect, which is heightened further by the observer moving, and when it is dark, when the space between the façade and the outer wall is artificially lit.

Two spacious foyers open out the Sports Arena in the campus and a busy junction in the direction of downtown Tianjin. The two entrance halls each penetrate the corner of the outer skin and provide access to the building via the narrow sides. The large expanses of glass in the foyer extend almost the entire height of the building (24 meters) and create an entrance that is bright and flooded with light. On the longitudinal sides the glass facades mimic the inclination of the spectator stands. This way the geometry of the hall’s interior and the rising spectator stands is also discernible in the design of the façade.

Furthermore, the sloping roofs of the entrance halls create an entrance area that expands upwards, and which at its highest point measures up to 20 meters. The walls of the entrance halls are bright orange and form an exciting contrast to the open exposed concrete stairs. These lead from the foyer directly up to the spectator stands on the inside of the arena, which have room for some 4,000 spectators. In addition there are 1,000 temporary places on the longitudinal sides of the court. The rows of spectator seats, which, being orange and gray, correspond with the color of the foyer, flank a 24 x 44-meter basketball or handball court that conforms to the sports’ rules. For everyday university purposes the playing area can be divided into two smaller basketball courts or a maximum of 12 badminton courts. All the ancillary rooms such as the changing rooms are located in the levels beneath the stand.

Floor area
14,000 sqm


Other Projects by KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten

Deutsche Börse
Eschborn, Germany
Jiangsu Provincal Art Museum
Nanjing, China
Jumeirah Hotel
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Documentation Centre - Memorial
Bergen-Belsen, Germany
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
DORMA Headquarter
Ennepetal, Germany