PUBLIC Honored for Soccer Ball Field House

PUBLIC Architecture + Communication (Vancouver) was recognized by the Architectural Institute of British Columbia for its soccer ball-inspired design of the Newton Field House in Surrey, BC.

The design—informed by Buckminster Fuller’s soccer ball, also known as the Buckyball—was one of 12 award recipients honored at the 2015 AIBC Annual Conference. It was the second honor for PUBLIC this year; the design firm was also awarded the Prix De Rome in Architecture in September.

“PUBLIC is excited to win this award, and we’d like to thank AIBC for recognizing our work. This award reaffirms the importance of considering design’s impact on public spaces,” says Brian Wakelin, principal architect of PUBLIC.

The 100m2 field house, which contains bathroom facilities and a mechanical room for a new waterpark, was built to visually complement the new waterpark and a large-scale destination playground.

Unraveling a Buckminster Fuller "Buckyball" reveals a compelling material and structural logic: its stitched arrangement of synthetic pentagons and hexagons approximates a sphere with flat surfaces, held in tension when the ball is inflated. PUBLIC designed the building’s walls to bend in a similar fashion, folding upon themselves to create a flowing curvature. The overlapping folds of a soccer ball are also a nod to the Field House surroundings: the building contains washrooms and irrigation infrastructure for one of Surrey’s largest outdoor soccer parks. The circular shape offers the benefit of increasing the feeling of safety for park patrons, as the curving walls guide visitors into the building without creating corners and hiding spaces. The walls are one continuous surface made of several flat surfaces, just like the Buckyball.

The Field House in Newton Athletic Park is one of several projects recently completed by PUBLIC that injects beauty into some of the more banal experiences of everyday life. The project also reflects the ethos of PUBLIC’s mission, which is to provide interesting and enjoyable public spaces that create a sense of place and community.

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