Building soccer pitches isn't typically a priority in London's limited space, so architect AL_A has devised a way to make the most of the spaces that are available. Its Pitch/Pitch concept can fit multiple five-a-side soccer pitches on small disused plots by stacking them on top of each other.
Like Pavegen's footstep-powered pitches in Brazil and Nigeria, the aim is to help foster community and to encourage healthy lifestyles, with AL_A pointing out that it's no longer safe for kids to play soccer in the streets due to traffic, and that existing sports facilities can be oversubscribed and costly to use.
Where there are five-a-side pitches, they are routinely spread across a ground-level area, which isn't the most efficient use of space. There's no reason, though, that such pitches can't be built across multiple levels, like buildings or car-parks.
AL_A has taken advantage of exactly this possibility. Working with Arup, it has designed a modular system of pitches with a lightweight carbon fiber frame. Additional levels can be added without adding much weight (relatively speaking) and, therefore, without the need for a huge supporting structure.
The system can also be constructed quickly and easily, with a view to being installed temporarily on derelict or vacant plots. AL_A suggests Pitch/Pitch installations could be erected for events as short as a fortnight or for extended periods of a year or more.
The caged design of the structure means passersby can see into the courts, while walkways on each level around the pitches allow spectators to watch games that are ongoing. Access is provided to each level by built-in stairwells, and integrated lighting means that the pitches can be used at night.
The pitches need not just be used for soccer, either. They could be adapted for sports like basketball, hockey and tennis or used for exercise and dance classes.
AL_A says it is currently working with partners to finance and roll-out the Pitch/Pitch concept across London.