Architecture of the athlete
Designers of sports facilities focus on physical aspects, like walls and tile angles to improve an athlete’s performance. However, from experience, the mental components of an athlete’s performance are overlooked; which is believed to have a greater impact on their overall performance. Using my experiences to produce a unique body of research, this thesis focusses on using the athlete’s perspective to design. This thesis investigates Sporting Facilities and Natatoriums are the focus. Using the skill of architects to create space and affect emotion, the thesis will investigate how they can be used to create an atmosphere that will allow an athlete to enter the optimal emotional state to achieve a successful sporting performance. The research will look the emotion and atmosphere of architecture, and the knowledge of sports psychology to understand how atmosphere can be used to challenge current design conventions. The approach will look at the relationship of facilities with and without local community involvement when they are not being used for competitions. This allows the needs of the community which has an effect upon the design, to be controlled. Which allows for an athlete’s perspective to drive the design. Using Natatoriums as the focus of the thesis, a series of design investigations will be conducted looking at how these spaces can be developed and arranged to optimise athlete performance. Objectives are to understand the arrangement of program and atmosphere required at each stage of an athlete’s pre-competition process, so a facility can be developed that is biased towards an athlete’s mental state versus other design factors.