An Invitation to Play

architect Igor Franić
project Sport Hall Gruda, Gruda - Konavle, Croatia
written by Vanja Rister


In perceiving ourselves as a sporting nation, we celebrate the planetary success of our stars – handball players, skiers, track and field athletes or football players, and when we talk about sports shrines, we talk about handball arenas for 18,000 spectators, ski pistes for world cup races or football stadiums for the World Cup. However, if we come down off our pedestal, it seems that we much prefer to watch sport than to actually engage in it. There are only a few ordinary sports grounds, pools and halls built for ourselves – students, amateurs or recreational athletes – and their construction is never a topic of interest for television, newspapers and government meetings. Yet, it is exactly there that sports culture is developed: on neighbourhood courts or in local gyms and swimming pools. The architecture of a sports court in an everyday context is perhaps closer to the experience of sport, than the spectator and spectacular character of great sports arenas.