It’s quite a leap from Leonardo da Vinci’s flying machine to the new sports center at the Beijing Institute of Technology, a university that specializes in military science. But the Renaissance artist and inventor’s contraption was an inspiration for the soaring 170,000-square-foot structure. The flying machine’s influence can most clearly be seen in the ceiling treatment of the 3,000-seat stadium, which flanks one side of a wide hallway running through the center of the building, with the 10-lane swimming pool on the other. Suspended from the roof, the ceiling is comprised of concave and convex surfaces evoking wingspans.
Within the building, glass interior walls provide transparency wherever possible, a deliberate attempt by architect and firm principal Yingfan Zhang to encourage table-tennis players to try swimming or yoga and vice versa—just as success in academics is increasingly dependent on fluid, cross-disciplinary explorations. “It’s a new model for the Chinese educational system,” says Zhang, who was born in China and educated at the Cooper Union and Harvard University.
Project Team: Xiaojun Bu; Zhenwei Li; Kai Qin; Ping Jiang; Wei Huang; Tongwei Liu; Dehu Du; Jiahe Zhang; Ran Yan; Lairong Zheng; Jiaming Mei; Lidong Song; Xiaoxiao Zhao; Jingshi Zhang; Bida Wei.