A vibrant multifunctional complex, the four-building project brings together sports, culture, and social venues open to diverse audiences. Revisiting the site as an urban sociocultural campus, they act together to revive the notion of public space and integrate the long-neglected area into Jihlava’s city center.
The Jihlava Multipurpose Arena will be one of the largest sports and leisure complexes in the Czech Republic. The construction has started and in two years will build on the city’s existing hockey stadium, a deteriorating indoor sporting arena built in 1956, and expand into a four-building multifunctional center bringing together an adaptable ice rink, a rooftop running track, and a gym as well as a sports academy, hospitality establishments, and shops.
Hosting both regional sporting and cultural events, the completed structure will act as a public platform open to a variety of audiences for a diverse range of activities, to revitalize this long-neglected area of the city. CHYBIK + KRISTOF’s design for the new Jihlava Multipurpose Arena revisits the existing structure of the building, initially developed as the home stadium for the regional ice hockey club.
A multifunctional space with a capacity of 5,600 spectators, the project extends the stadium’s original purpose by creating a versatile space, adapted to both its primary sporting purposes within state-of-the-art facilities and a broad spectrum of activities – and their respective audiences. Located on the border of Jihlava’s historical center, the arena – a structure usually confined to the periphery of cities – is adjacent to a park and university and places itself in the continuity of these two spaces.
The several public spaces nested throughout the four-building “urban stadium” allow it to melt into the surrounding urban landscape. Rather than marking an interruption in the existing city structure, the arena serves as a transparent and fluid transition between seemingly distinct spaces, thereby reviving and opening up the area to new functions, and ultimately extending the city center beyond its strict historical bounds.
In this new permeable space, in which the inhabitants are encouraged to invest in their daily lives, the architectural framework lays the foundations for the prominent notions of free movement and interaction. The new structure unfolds into four distinct buildings, two of which already exist, connected through open-air walkways and green spaces.
While the existing rectangular stadium undergoes full reconstruction and the sports academy is maintained as a key element of the site, they are both refurbished to host new functionalities and better blend within the overall environment and its signature aesthetic. At the heart of the project, the architects erect a spacious new arena: a monumental structure, whose materials and forms reflect the city’s origins.
A reference to the name of the city, likely derived from the Slavic word jehla referring to sharp triangular stones found in the Jihlava riverbed, the various refurbished and new buildings in the complex present triangle-patterned façades, tainted in red to mirror the color of the city’s characteristic rooftops.
The oval arena is structurally conceived as a versatile space: the interior space, endowed with the complex technical equipment necessary, serves at once as a hockey rink, exhibitions and events hall, and concert venue, complemented by an indoor gym. On its roof rests an outdoor track, further enriching the building’s sports functionality and inviting audiences to look upon the surrounding views of the city.
Adjacent to it, the architects have placed a hospitality building. Placed at an intersection, its elevated pedestrian-friendly structure invites visitors into the complex by allowing them to view the full environment from the street and thereby easily orient themselves within it. Combining a restaurant, hotel, gym, and office spaces, it is exclusively dedicated to enriching visitors’ multifaceted experience of the complex and ensures the connection with the neighboring sports venue.
Beyond a circumstantial, events-based site, the Jihlava Multipurpose Arena is an everyday space, an urban sporting, cultural, and social campus for visitors of the arena, athletes, students of the academy and university, and the general public to invest. As the four buildings’ complementary and interconnected functions contribute to this, they share a distinct red metal grid façade, formed by apposed triangles.
The expansive, highly visible, and recognizable complex – both aesthetically and structurally – grows into an icon for the city, a definite, familiar, and understandable building for its inhabitants. Source by CHYBIK + KRISTOF.
Location: Jihlava, Czech Republic
Architect: CHYBIK + KRISTOF
Project team: Ondřej Chybík, Michal Krištof, Jiří Richter; Luděk Šimoník, Kryštof Foltýn, Martin Holý, Denisa Annová, Ondřej Mičuda, Urszula Sedziak, Tomáš Wojtek; Laura Emilija Druktenytė
Client: City of Jihlava
Volume: 183,630 m3
Costs: 30 million EUR
Images: Courtesy of CHYBIK + KRISTOF