Exercise 1: Exploring Function

For this exercise I took advantage of  having access to The Ageas Bowl, home of the Hampshire Cricket Club. They were kind enough to allow me access to the vast majority of the stadium for the purpose of this part of the course, I was going there planning on using the images for the assignment, which I have, but when I looked again at the exercises I felt that the function of this purpose built stadium would give an interesting opportunity to explore its function. Firstly I considered the people who use the stadium in general, the public on match days, the club day to day and also its many commercial clients who use meeting rooms and the onsite public gym and beauty therapy. The area itself is a purpose built cricket stadium, although in the past it has been used for concerts and community days and fireworks displays. Being designed specifically for cricket, the area is relatively open planned, consistent in design all around, with the added pavilion and recently developed stands either side of the pavilion. There are a number of aspects of cricket that require specific architecture and design, firstly a circular stadium that gives continuous seating throughout, however at either end of the pitch it needs to be a solid colour, to enable the players to see the ball against the backdrop. In regards to the stands themselves, they need to ensure that firstly there is adequate space and width for everybody, at full capacity to move throughout the stand comfortably and safely, this means wide even steps and open planned atrium underneath, to allow for safe quick movement in all directions.

On arrival at The Ageas Bowl and after having a look around, I chose this atrium underneath one of the newly developed stands as an interior area with a function which are as follows;

  • Safety
  • Cover from the elements
  • Food & Drink
  • Restrooms

Each of these are a necessity to the spectators and the very least a stadium should be providing its users. The Ageas Bowl provides this very simply in the interior of the atrium, which compared to the external architecture it is rather bleak.

IMG_4776To show this space and how it worked within the stand I looked for a viewpoint that gave the internal size of the space relevance. Therefore after photographing on the floor I found my way onto this slightly higher level, used for storage. It gave me a scene that not only showed the size, curve and partial length of the building but also a couple of the functions, of rest rooms, and the just before them an path out to the seats and pitch. The width of the atrium shows the number of people using it at one time, this to, as mentioned previously allow for added safety and space for all moving around the stand.  I have used the curvature of the building within the frame to emphasise this and the scale of the building, especially the metal railing to the left of the frame. This image shows the effectiveness of the size, scale and amenities well of the building, however it does tend to rely on the natural light, having the fluorescents purely as a rather inadequate light source which on days like this gives an essence of mood and atmosphere while creating interesting shadows and tones but in the case of 7000 people using this it could cause an issue.

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