Gallery: Nike Builds Sun-Shaded SOWETO Football Training Centre in Sout...

The football facility houses 2 new full-sized artificial pitches, 2 junior turf pitches, new lighting, a clubhouse & player lounge, an education facility for the Grass Roots Soccer & Life Skillz program, a training gym, physio & first aid facility, catering, administrative offices, a viewing deck and new changing rooms.

Image ©Julian Abrams

Due to the project’s tight turnaround time, RUFproject decided to forgo incorporating more complicated green strategies and instead focused on more basic principles, like sun shading, natural ventilation, and reduced energy loads. The rectangular, three-story building is constructed out of steel and features a double-walled air cavity covered with locally-sourced sandstone that acts as a rain screen. It is oriented to the east and west to take advantage of the northern solar aspect.

A locally-sourced South African timber louver structure suspended from the steel acts as a sun screen on the east, north and west facades, protecting the building from solar heat gain. The building is cantilevered over the edges of the two main fields, creating a shady area that keeps the the gym, kitchen and trial areas cool.

As the Johannesburg area is prone to power outages, RUFproject wanted to ensure that the building could weather the outages and still maintain relatively constant temperatures. An energy-efficient water-based cooling system with air circulation keeps most of the building within a reasonable temperature range, while offices make use of small AC units when it more cooling is necessary.

The building’s lighting systems make use of energy-efficient fixtures, like metal halide fluorescents and LEDs. A solar hot water system on the roof provides plenty of hot water for the athletes in the locker rooms. Additionally, approximately 30 tons of recycled rubber tires were used to create the surface for the tunnel, gym and the cushioning and infill for the artificial turf fields.

+ RUFproject

Via Dezeen

Images ©Julian Abrams & Allan James Lipp courtesy of RUFproject


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  1. rufproject January 20, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    A large number of local firms were involved in the project, we worked very closely with SIP Project Management, MMA architects, AKI engineering and Spoormaker & Partners who put in a massive amount of effort to ensure the project was a success. The construction company was Rainbow Construction, and the graphic production company was Grid Worldwide.

    Design and creative by RUFproject and Nike Global Football Brand Design, with the exception of three commissioned artworks by Kronk.

    Hope this helps….


  2. Corli January 18, 2011 at 3:20 am

    Is the centre named “Soweta”, because the area where it is located is called Soweto, which stands for South-Western-Townships.

    PS: why weren’t South African architects involved in this project? We are also at the forefront of sustainable design, but our industry is in a slump due to the recession and lack of international interest.

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