João Rocha Pavilion
The João Rocha Sports Hall is the new home for five of SCP - Sporting Clube de Portugal’s modalities, Basketball, Volleyball, Handball, Futsal and Hockey. The building, implemented on the site of the old, meanwhile demolished José Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, was inaugurated in June, 2017.
Morphologically, this Sports Arena is characterized by clear lines and a sharp volumetry. Two overlapping volumes gain lightness thanks to the use of perforated surfaces and an ingenious illumination system. The building skin, in bent metal sheet, works as a light box that expresses in real time the emotions lived inside the Arena through an intelligent light system. The character of the light, metal skin contrasts with the concrete’s solidity and opacity, while providing a setup with an unexpected effect of great vigour. Conceptually, the building inverts the classical building logic, in the sense that it presents a volume of concrete over a backlit metal basis. This option grants the building with a specific elegant lightness.
A complex program of requirements, it’s multipurpose use – sports, performing arts, museum and retail – and the constraints of the Alvalade XXI Urban Detailed Plan constituted the project’s main challenges. The solution proposed by Mörschel Arquitectos involved finding a balance between the program’s multiple aspects. With a capacity of more than 3.000 seated places, the sports hall is prepared to host the different sports venues, as well as additional cultural events. At the centre of the project is the arena, or the pitch, with 48x26m and a clear height of over 12,5 m (essential to play volleyball), is the building’s focal point. The stands evolve throughout the perimeter of the playing field on all four lateral planes, creating an arena with a “cauldron” effect. Black clinker coated walls surround the arena and a ceiling in black expanded metal sheet allow for significant improvements in the room’s acoustic behaviour, while emphasizing the scenic effect of a theatre like black-box where all eyes are focussed on the court. The only colour accent in the arena is the typical green club colour of stands seats.