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Uniting Nature and Fitness: Cloud 9 Sports Center in Shijiazhuang

Cloud 9 Sports Center, Shijiazhuang, CN / MAD Architects

Nestled in the northern part of the CBD’s Central Park in Shijiazhuang, China, the Cloud 9 Sports Center, envisioned by Ma Yansong/MAD Architects, covers around 6,000 square meters. It boasts an athletic complex complete with a gym, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, and various commercial areas. With residential, commercial, and recreational offerings nearby, Central Park serves as a special retreat for city dwellers.

Cloud 9 Sports Center, Shijiazhuang, CN / MAD Architects

What sets the Cloud 9 Sports Center apart is its seamless integration with its surroundings. It not only serves as a venue for exercise but also acts as an extension of the park itself. The building’s exterior, with its soft and fluid design, is enveloped in a translucent membrane material, creating a mesmerizing “cloud” that reflects the natural beauty of its surroundings. The public areas, outdoor courts, and green spaces are thoughtfully arranged around the building, seamlessly blending with the park and promoting community access.

Cloud 9 Sports Center, Shijiazhuang, CN / MAD Architects

From the very beginning, the center’s design incorporated various features to enhance both its functionality and environmental sustainability. Cooling towers strategically placed on the second floor address underground ventilation concerns, optimizing air circulation and freeing up a significant amount of ground space, approximately 5,200 cubic meters, for recreational purposes. Furthermore, the first-floor roof extends towards the park and has been adorned with lush green plants, seamlessly merging the structure with its natural environment.

Cloud 9 Sports Center, Shijiazhuang, CN / MAD Architects

The second and third floors of the building are clad in ETFE membrane material with a metallic coating, which helps to reflect the surrounding environment and minimize visual obstructions caused by the cooling tower. This design choice not only conceals the building’s volume but also integrates it harmoniously with the park surroundings. The building’s facade serves as a showcase of urban life and visitor activities, transforming the sports center into an immersive display of urban vibrancy.

Cloud 9 Sports Center, Shijiazhuang, CN / MAD Architects

On the side of the building facing Central Park, a semi-outdoor staircase has been incorporated, providing access to a rest bar along the stairs and leading up to the third-floor observation deck. This vertical feature allows individuals, even those not utilizing the sports facilities, to enjoy panoramic views of the park and the city beyond.

Cloud 9 Sports Center, Shijiazhuang, CN / MAD Architects

The gym located on the top floor boasts a fully transparent glass curtain wall, offering gym-goers a 360° view of the urban and natural landscapes while they exercise.

Similarly, the indoor tennis court is connected to an underground commercial street and subway, benefiting from a transparent glass curtain wall that allows natural light to flood the space.

Cloud 9 Sports Center, Shijiazhuang, CN / MAD Architects

Designed by Ma Yansong/MAD Architects, the green slope and second-floor platform act as a buffer between the Sports Center and the city. A circular running track links the building to Central Park, while outdoor courts, terraced squares, and observation decks enhance the recreational space, providing opportunities for sports, relaxation, and leisure.

Cloud 9 Sports Center, Shijiazhuang, CN / MAD Architects

The Cloud 9 Sports Center stands as a testament to Shijiazhuang’s commitment to progress and innovation. With its stunning design and thoughtful integration, it not only provides a space for physical activity but also serves as a symbol of the city’s transformation into a modern and vibrant urban landscape.