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My original intentions were to focus on healthy eating and designing a building that corresponds to the concept of cooking. Diving deeper into the concept I had come to discover the correspondence was not reaching the level that I desired. I knew that I enjoyed the concept of healthy nutrition, and exercise has been a constant theme in my life as well. This lead me to deal more stickily with nutrition and exercise.
Personally I have played soccer for 16 years of my life, and soccer was the first idea that came to my mind when thesis projects were first introduced. I could not initially think of how to connect the two without simply designing a soccer stadium. Now, when I came to focus on nutrition and exercise, soccer fell right into place. Within my own personal consideration, I would have always enjoyed a facility that was devoted not only to soccer but strictly for women as well. I feel that training in a gender specific facility would make me feel more comfortable, but I would have had everything catered to my personal needs. In addition, being specific to my sport the facility could only improve my skills and talent to the fullest. With all this in mind, and the consideration of other aspects, it was clear to propose the design of a Soccer Training Facility specific to women, to be located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Women’s soccer is currently the fastest growing segment in sports. In North America alone it supersedes all other national sports in increases to membership per year, and sheer volume of participants. Across the US there are no soccer training facilities designing solely for women. It has also been proven that Women and Men have different mind sets when it comes to the game of soccer, and while actual game play is not different, the mind set and training techniques are. With this in mind in 2011 the women’s world cup will begin in Germany, and this would be a prime location for the US Women’s team to train for that event. In addition, in 2012 is the summer Olympics where the US Women again will be in need of training to perform their best for the gold. After these two upcoming years the facility would not need to close, or would not be unused. It would constantly be utilized for all the ODP (Olympic Development Program) women’s soccer teams. In this ODP program for girls, a pool of players in each age group are selected for their respective National Team, for international competition, extremely similar to the actual USA Women’s team. The program provides high-level training towards the development of players, and having a common training facility for these teams would only enhance this training. With this sharing of the facility would create a motivation for the younger girls to want to reach the level of the actual USA team, and training in the same facility is just the first step.
It is necessary to create a facility solely for women due to the condition where women do develop and need to train differently than men to
achieve their full potential. They utilize different machines, follow different meal plans, and make use of different techniques to gain the upper hand. One specific example to look into is the fact that there is a much higher rate of knee injuries in women over men. From this information there seems to be two major components that revolve around the issue. Anatomical and mechanical realities are not being addressed, and neither is the corrective training methodology. There are still too many male training methodologies used when coaching women, and soccer needs to be more phase and gender specific. At game time both male and female athletes will have their heads into the game. The routes to get there however will have been different and having a women specific training facility will guarantee a top performance for the top players and teams.
Colorado Springs is the premier choice of location for the training facility. It is currently the location of the Olympic Training Center, surrounding the women athletes with other hard working training athletes as well. Presently, on location there are abundant amounts of tennis courts, baseball fields, and tracks. There are no soccer fields on site. The higher altitude during training will allow for better endurance in locations that are closer to sea level, or be in strong competition in the situation where they do have to play in higher altitudes elsewhere across the globe. Colorado’s weather hits all ends of the spectrum, and training in all of the alternating weather conditions will develop the women to adapt to all of them. The actual site for the facility would be in Memorial Park, directly south of the Olympic Training center. Within this site are; an Olympic aquatic center, baseball fields, and tennis courts. There is even space for the development of outdoor soccer fields as needed. The Olympic Training center has aged over the years since it was constructed, and with this new addition to the area would only enhance the overall feeling of sports and training.
Within the design are countless needed amenities. Such areas that would be designed include; physical therapies, exam room/Dr.’s Office, massage therapy, Hydrotherapy, strength training, ply metric training, athletic training, cafeteria with Kitchen, and team training. All types of therapy are a necessity for all athletes. It is there to help prevent injury, as well as to provide faster recovery should something occur. Strength training is key. Being a contact sport, muscle is needed to stand your ground, and hold onto the ball. This can be enhanced with the right equipment, routine and facility. Ply metrics are important to keep players agile and quick moving. Athletic and Team training develops all the players together, there is no I in team, and games are only won by teams and not individuals. The cafeteria is where a focus on nutrition comes into play. To perform the best it is essential to eat right. The training facility will truly encompass all the is needed to develop and improve all the women that utilize the facility creating players that dominate the sport of soccer.
All these amenities and specifications of what these women will need is what will carry the design. All aspects will be enhanced to their full potential through this design. Small details will be essential. Every designed aspect will have reasoning behind it, focusing on the best development of women soccer players. Locker rooms for the players, for staff, and a smaller exclusive locker room for elite players cannot be forgotten. In consideration of the business aspect of the sport there is also the necessity of offices, meeting rooms, and a press interview room that must be included in the design. For the athletes benefit the addition of a computer room, and lounge area will be developed. The techniques used will connect to the needs of each individual aspect of the facility and become one uniform structure. Sunlight and ventilation will be important to dive into to create an environment that is pleasing to be a part of. It has been proven that people work harder in a pleasant environment. Looking into each aspect will create the needs of different types of design. For all the therapy rooms, there is the need for medical equipment; the strength training area needs specific machines to develop the right muscle groups for soccer; polymeric require equipment to be set out and outlined in precise routes for routines; the cafeteria and kitchen need all the commercial use equipment to prepare food as well as the space to occupy the amount of players that would be using it. Each of these amenities requires different design approaches, and my goal is to connect all of these uniformly and to their full potential.
Structure will also play an extremely important part of design. Sports Architecture is driven by geometry, all aspects must be optimized to balance complex requirements such as venue capacity, comfort, quality, and location of all amenities. With a large footprint the appropriate tectonics of the design will give shape, scale, texture and warmth to the architectural space. There are a number of constraints and technical challenges not only within the structure but in creating energy efficient and cost effective systems, as well as energy saving strategies. As an innovative new design, being LEED certified is practically a must. The construction components will promote environmental sustainability including the selection of materials, indoor environmental quality, and a focus on energy and water conservation.
The Women’s Soccer Training Facility will deliver a complex, beautiful and highly functional building that will stand the test of time. The facility will be architecturally outstanding, but will also give monetary value in both capital outlay and lifetime operational costs. Architecturally eye-catching sports buildings are a source of pride not just for the team’s fans but for the whole country. They can become destinations in their own right and act as catalysts for regeneration. It will provide full potential of development in the technical, social, mental, and physical aspects of soccer. The environment of design will be emotionally satisfying for the players, but the design will go beyond the constructed environment. As previously stated, women’s soccer is growing at a rapid speed, the creation of this training facility will be that catalysts to boost the program even more. It will draw more people together around not only team USA, but to other athletes, events, and places wholeheartedly.