Architecture Program


Date of this Version

May 2006


M. Arch Thesis, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, May 2006.


In choosing a thesis project the desire was to design a facility where similar structures had not done the event justice. The sport of figure skating represented this desire well. This idea transformed into a design for an Olympic site in Turin Italy for the 2006 figure and short track speed skating. The facil¬ity will become a permanent fixture in Turin as a civic-center. Pierre Baron de Coubertin, developer of the foundation for the modern Olympic games, defined what Olympic architecture should strive to achieve,

The Olympic City should captivate the visitor as a dignified and grandiose complex by monumentality and impressive appearance; a mere glance at the facilities should clearly display their double character, athletic and artistic by overlapping of functions and the unmistakable nature of the townscape; the silhouette and the landscape should as far as possible form a harmonious unit- games on green plots, buildings integrated into the landscape, interrelationship between interior space and the open space (Wimmer, 23).

I chose to do an Olympic arena because of the design significance and the importance to both the host city of Turin. The Olympics is a worldwide event, but it is the host country that bears the major financial investment. Each building is looked at critically as to if and what its future use will be, at the same time as how it will function for the Olympic games. Here Coubertin has laid out the three main functions of an Olympic building: monumentality, integration between inside and out, and harmony.

The design will strive to achieve these goals through the mas¬ter planning of the site and the design of an Olympic facility. While Olympic architecture in recent years has em¬braced design, and the 2006 is no different, the Palavela still does not represent Coubertin’s vision of a facility that embodies the spirit of the sport or takes into account the landscape. Turin has decided to house the skating in the Palavela, a structure created in 1961 as a commemoration to the unification of Italy. The reasoning for remodeling this building was because of its iconic status and sail-like roof structure. They have chosen to gut the building leaving only the soaring concrete roof struc¬ture. It is my opinion that the current Palavela’s roof structure is not worth saving simply because of its unique look. In fact, the structure is very similar to that of the 1968 winter Olympics’ Grenoble Ice Sports Arena. Therefore, I have chosen to use the same site, but design a new facility to better represent the sport and the city.

The program for the building will cater to the needs both during and after the Olympics. The building will later become an integral part of Turin as a convention center. The program calls for a 30x60m rink with seating for 8500 people that can be transformed later into a multi functional space for activities such as a concert stage, arena for indoor sports, and a place for community fairs. The program should be versatile, similar to that of Omaha’s new Qwest Center. Coubertin was said to have found, “antique Olympia was a city of athletics, art and religious festivals. The city of athletics had a tem¬porary character, the city of art and culture a permanent one (24).” One must take note that this building and site will be just as significant to the people of Turin after the Olympics, therefore it should both represent the fluidity and dynamic nature of figure skating, but also have a lasting home for the nature of figure skating, but also have a lasting home for the arts.

The three objectives are similar to that of Coubertin:
-The building should be an artistic gesture of the sport with the presence of an Olympic structure, but in doing so should also fluidly meld with the overall park landscape.
-The building and site should foremost become a place for gathering and activity for the community of Turin, and secondly, welcome visitors to the Olympics as a place of celebration.
-The building and site should function civically paying close attention to the aesthetic of the townscape, and by doing so become a positive statement about the Olympics and Turin both inside and out.

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