Jiading Malu Sports Center

Maximising its potential on a rather constricted plot, the new community sports centre mimics an activation of space observed in Shanghai’s traditional Longtang—narrow alleyways in the old city centre that are bustling with life. The dense activation is achieved with a dynamic approach to the sports centre’s physical expression and programming, invoking Baijiayi—a vernacular quilting technique—to achieve a versatile and adaptable patchwork arrangement of space.


These two quintessential elements of Shanghai’s urban and cultural ecology underpin the conceptual foundation of the architectural approach. In the Longtang, residents are both active participants and keen observers of daily life.



The design therefore incorporates space that encourages not only active participation in sporting activities but also the joy of watching others partake in them. This actor-audience liaison is facilitated by fluid indoor-outdoor spatial relationships that arise from gaps within the three-dimensional patchwork, and creates a vibrant and interconnected environment.
The building’s rectilinear form is aligned with the road, leaving space for a dynamic urban garden on the waterfront that is shielded from traffic noise. The fluid arrangement of free-flowing programmed spaces along the linear „shelves“ of a grid superstructure optimises efficiency and, like a quilted patchwork, is adaptable to future use changes. These multifunctional spaces cater to a diverse range of sports and activities for all ages and fitness levels, both physical and digital, promoting inclusivity and community engagement.


Sustainability is achieved on multiple levels. The adaptability of spaces to future use changes ensures the building’s relevance for generations to come. Systems are integrated thoughtfully, such as decorative photovoltaic cells lining the enclosure of the rooftop garden. Passive strategies are inherent to the building’s patchwork form—glazed enclosures are pulled back and therefore ensure sufficient shading in the warmer months.

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