In the eastern suburbs of Vitoria-Gasteiz, the political heartland of the Basque Country in Spain, it is still possible to enjoy a peaceful and relaxing walk in a park called ‘The Astronomers’. The name provides a clue to the history of the local area. Due to its location and terrain, the park had had a long link with astronomers using it to study the night sky. Current urban development precludes any possibility to perform astronomical observations, but the site still attracts local amateur astronomers.
Since 2000, the park has been developed to provide sporting facilities. A running track was laid along with a football pitch with a precast concrete structure to act as a shelter for supporters. With the increasing popularity of the local football teams, funding was sought for the enhancement of facilities at the park. A brief was drawn to include the construction of a new covered stand that would follow sustainable principles, be durable, vandal-proof, require minimal maintenance and be easy to extend.
LMM Architects were chosen for their unusual yet simple proposal that met the brief. A 30-metre long trapezoidal, on side elevation, steel structure forms the main frame for the new stand. Galvanized steel inverted ‘L’ sections placed at five metre centres provide the skeleton of the structure that is clad with galvanized sheet. The lower level of the new stand uses precast concrete to provide changing rooms and a meeting room. Seating has been placed on top of the precast sections with a series of galvanized stairs that lead to the upper level of the stand. The simple design linked with effective engineering provides a light, durable, maintenance-free structure that can be used for many years to come by the locals to enjoy their football.
Architect: LMM Architects