CESM Soccer Facility

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2011

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One of the primary considerations driving the CESM project was the site conditions: the soccer facility rests at the extreme boundary of the city’s hard surface in the Old Port, and with its massive volume, the project has significant ramifications on the immediate context.  With an extraordinary amount of pedestrian traffic - tourists, bikers, runners - making its way both across the quai and out to its extremity, it is critical that this movement is allowed to continue, and even improved and made more interesting.  By re-working the structure of the quai to allow a more dynamic relationship with the water, and then lifting the stadium above this new surface, the activities of the quai are sustained and improved.

The formal and experiential aspects of the soccer facility itself followed a process guided by notions of the Game, understood in architectural terms.  Abstracting it as such, the Game can be broken down as two competing structures - think offensive and defensive plays in football or basketball - superimposed upon one another within a rigid governing framework.  While the initial systems prevail to a certain extent, their intersections introduce moments of chance and choice that reconfigure their unfolding within the boundaries and rules of the Game.   

In the soccer stadium, putting to use architectural conventions such as parallax, space unfolds in much the same way, following space-making principles of intersection and diversion.  The major programs were grouped and broken down into competing elements - the watched and the watcher, inside and outside the city, automobile circulation and pedestrian - which are then intersected, giving rise to spaces which bend, break, and unfold as one moves through them, all adhering to the rules established by the primary structural system. Structure, skin, and space fuse together, creating a dynamic experience recalling that of Gameplay.