Carlo Ratti Associati designs a “see-through” skyscraper for sports in Turin, Italy

Playfully titled the ‘Playscraper’, the building is an innovative coming together of digital media display, sports entertainment, and prefab construction technology.

by Anmol Ahuja Published on : Dec 18, 2020

Doubling up as a digitised sport event viewing venue as well as an interactive digital urban edifice for its surroundings, the currently conceptually developed ‘Playscraper’ is a marriage between two of the most popular avenues of content consumption on a large canvas. Commissioned by RCS Sport, the sport and media branch of the leading European multimedia publishing group RCS MediaGroup, and designed by Carlo Ratti Associati in collaboration with a number of engineers and technical consultants, the tower is to be located in Turin, Italy, and intends to make sport viewing and playing a more immersive experience than ever. 

The tower rises to 90 meters (300 feet) and employs an innovative stack structural system | Playscraper | Carlo Ratti Associati | STIRworld
The tower rises to 90 meters (300 feet) and employs an innovative stack structural system Image: Visualisation by Gary di Silvio, Courtesy of CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati

The form of the building is a simple derivative of the cuboidal volumes formed by its courts stacked on top of each other in sandwich structure. Each of the volumes contains a standalone tennis court. As the volumes twist and turn orthogonally, it leads to the formation of sizeable terraces that can prove to be spaces for fans to gather and interact. While the faces of the cuboid comprising the shorter edge on each side are completely glazed to enable panoramic views from the inside and a peek into the match happening from the outside, the faces along the longer edges incorporate state-of-the-art electronic arcades that can be used to stream sports and other digital content. The tower’s concept and design is then intended to engage not just the players on the court, but also those in the vicinity to view the action live through its display glazing, or through its wide digital screens. Playing at roughly 90 meters from the ground may very well be the play of a lifetime for the sportsperson too. 

The design of this 90-meter tall building comprising over 5500 sqm of playing space is made possible by an innovative construction technology based on a lightweight stainless-steel sandwich structure developed by Broad Sustainable Building (BSB). Using BSB’s B-Core slab structure, a structural solution that is inspired by the outer shell of a spacecraft, enables the cuboidal volumes to be stacked while being considerably offset from the volume below it, leading to impressive cantilevers and terraces. When the tower begins construction, with an estimated completion timeline till around 2025, the employment of this technology can help it achieve record construction times with its prefab assembly, as it has in the past for several projects.

Playscraper intends to be an interactive and immersive avenue for both players and sport lovers/viewers | Playscraper | Carlo Ratti Associati | STIRworld
Playscraper intends to be an interactive and immersive avenue for both players and sport lovers/viewers Image: Visualisation by Gary di Silvio, Courtesy of CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati

“This project would not just create a new icon for sports lovers,” states architect and engineer Carlo Ratti, founder of CRA, on the very modular nature of this building. “It also experiments with a new type of public space, extending vertically instead of horizontally. The tower is easy to install and dismantle and can be easily moved. This flexible approach fits the circular nature of today’s sports competitions, which move from location to location throughout the year.”

Whether this intervention proves to be a worthy and effective replacement of the stadia and courts we are used to viewing live sports in will be a function of time, and whether our adaptation to the current stay-at-home norms continues, and in what form. On the other hand, it may very well be an avenue to democratise the viewing of sports, and to have games enjoyed on larger canvases than ever before, as people ditch their individual televisions and take to viewing sports on skyscrapers: the collective echo of a point scored or the sigh of a drop may very well be heard across entire neighbourhoods now. 

Project Details

Name: Playscraper
Architects: CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati 
Creative Consultancy: Italo Rota
CRA Design Team: Carlo Ratti, Antonio Atripaldi (Project Manager), Ina Sefgjini, Chiara Borghi, Aurora Maggio
Project Team: RCS Sport (Lead), RCS Media Group, RCS Sport &Events, CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati, EY Advisory, GAe Engineering, Leading Law, Kratesis, Nugo, Recchi Engineering, Systematica, Paolo Verri.
Construction material: Broad Sustainable Building

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