Sports Structures and Facilities

Sports Structures and Facilities


individual build ings or groups of structures designed for exercising, sports training and practice, and competition in various sports.

The prototypes of modern sports structures were the classical palaestrae, gymnasiums, stadiums, hippodromes, and circuses. The majestic amphitheaters of ancient Rome, such as the Coliseum, demonstrated the concept of combining a stadium and a circus. Bathhouses with heated water have existed at least as long as the ancient Greek palaestrae; the ancient Roman thermae are more elaborate examples. Christianity rejected the cult of the harmoniously developed human body, and consequently its spread halted the construction of sports structures and facilities, although hippodromes and special fields for tournaments of knights did exist in the Middle Ages.

The accelerated construction of sports structures and facilities began in the 19th century. The first swimming pools were built between 1828 and 1830 and the first modern gymnasiums in the middle of the century. Most of these were built in the style of the ancient structures. The revival of the Olympic Games in 1896 provided an important stimulus to the construction of sports structures and facilities. Twentieth-century sports structures are often important public buildings and brilliant examples of progressive trends in modern architecture.

Modern sports structures and facilities serve more than 50 types of sports. A structure or facility is usually divided into the principal area, where training is done and competitions are held (fields, courts, halls), auxiliary areas (cloakrooms, dressing rooms, shower rooms, rooms for officials, equipment rooms), areas for the maintenance systems (water, heat, and electric power supplies), and the spectator area (stands and seats, lobbies, refreshment counters, and restrooms). Sports structures and facilities can be outdoor or indoor.

Individual buildings may be designed for one or several types of sports, for example, auditoriums or halls for both gymnastics and games; sports complexes consist of several specialized structures designed for different sports. Fields and courts for games and track and field, ice rinks, swimming pools, rowing channels, ski trails, sledding runs, ski jumps, cycle tracks, and firing ranges are examples of individual outdoor structures and facilities. Stadiums with sports arenas and courts for different sports and equestrian sports centers are outdoor complexes. Individual indoor sports structures and facilities include halls or auditoriums for various sports, indoor arenas for track and field events and games, indoor ice rinks, tennis courts, and swimming pools. Indoor complexes include buildings with multiple arenas, general-purpose halls for entertainment and sports, and indoor stadiums. During the 1960’s and 1970’s, efforts to operate sports structures and facilities throughout the year resulted in the construction of buildings that could be open in the summer and enclosed in the winter, as well as complexes containing both outdoor and indoor facilities.


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