Maximiliano Arrocet and his colleagues at AL_A like to play 5-a-side football, which helps reinforce the family-like atmosphere of the London architecture and design studio. The employees found it more difficult to find a local pitch after the studio relocated. This spurred the question: How can a dense city with limited green space still cater to its active population?
Stackable football pitches.
“In combination with a lot of projects we’ve been doing with new technology for fabrications, and from looking at the urban problems we are seeing as the density in urban areas grow, we thought of developing vertical systems in order to mitigate these issues,” Arrocet says. “It was an idea we discussed and realized, as we looked into new materials—specifically carbon fiber—that it was possible.”
Working with engineering/design/planning firm Arup, AL_A unveiled its stackable football pitches concept in November 2016. The pitches, made of lightweight carbon fiber, would be easy to set up and transport. The stackable pitches could be used in a variety of locations from parks to building rooftops and more, for a varied amount of time.
“[Carbon fiber] liberates you from all the traditional problems you have with buildings, such as that they have to be in a set place,” Arrocet says.
While the concept utilizes limited city space, it also helps alleviate a growing global problem: obesity. According to the World Health Organization, world obesity has more than doubled since 1980. In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults (18 years and older) were considered overweight; more than 600 million of those were considered obese.
“Recreational spaces in cities are more and more limited, so that starts to become an inactivity cycle,” Arrocet says. “We are beginning to see figures where obesity is increasing, and is a strain on the health system and so on.”
Arrocet says the stackable football pitches are just another step in the evolution of sports. He would know, having grown up in Madrid, playing football in the streets in between parked cars.
Currently, a 1-to-1 mockup is being developed and will be tested to pass British standards. Arrocet hopes to have the project tested and greenlit within a year.
“The denser the city, the more you have to adapt,” Arrocet says. “We are seeing the game as very adaptable.”