Canadian firm RUFproject worked in collaboration with the Nike Global Football Brand Design to complete this striking Soweto Football Training Centre in South Africa over the course of just six months. The football facility combines multiple fields, training and locker rooms, offices, a gym, a kitchen and more in a building encased in wooden louvers and sandstone. Even though they had such a short time to complete the facility, RUFproject still managed to throw in a lot of sustainable design strategies, including energy-efficient passive solar design.
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.
Image ©Julian Abrams
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.
Images ©Julian Abrams & Allan James Lipp courtesy of RUFproject