Residential and commercial towers continue to go up and up but our recreation spaces tend to stay on the ground. This means more people without a place to stretch their legs. In London, AL_A are attempting to address the chronic lack of space for sport with stackable five-a-side soccer facility called Pitch/Pitch.
Working in collaboration with Arup, AL_A designed Pitch/Pitch using a modular lightweight carbon-fibre structure that is fast and easy to erect in derelict or temporarily vacant spaces across the city. According to AL_A, “it could last for a fortnight with a World Cup tournament or last a year while a site lies dormant”.
“Although Pitch/Pitch is currently intended for temporary installations in London, there is no reason that it can’t be used to combat the perils of a sedentary urban lifestyle in cities like Melbourne.”
Beyond the physical benefits, Pitch/Pitch also provides social benefits. Its open design makes the activity visible from the street, animating the urban landscape and drawing spectators in. The stacked structure also provides sight lines back down to the street, providing the kind of natural surveillance that Jane Jacob’s espoused as essential to a safe neighbourhood.
Although Pitch/Pitch is currently intended for temporary installations in London, there is no reason that it can’t be used to combat the perils of a sedentary urban lifestyle in cities like Melbourne where the CBD is expected to grow from 148,044 (2016) to 262,000 by 2036. Melbourne CBD’s population is also changing, with the recent Census showing that the percentage of residents from China has increased to 28.1% (up from 21.3% in 2011) As the city becomes more diverse, the international game of soccer is a logical choice. A global game for a global city.
Chris Barton is Cultural Director at Right Angle Studio and partner in Golden Age Cinema & Bar. Based in Melbourne, he oversees the company’s local and global research activities and ensures its strategic and creative work has both style and substance. In past lives, Chris co-founded The Thousands city guides and published Condiment, an independent magazine exploring the intersection between food and creativity, and food and community.