PITCH Africa, African football design, ATOPIA Research sports project, Architect, Picture

PITCH Africa Building

Football Architecture design by ATOPIA Research

2 Aug 2010

Rainwater Harvesting in Africa

In Africa, two things are perennial: the passion for football and the thirst for water. Children and youth across the continent scramble over scraps of open ground, making soccer balls from anything on hand. For young men particularly, the game is the core of the community, a foundation for development and an escape from the more dangerous pastimes that young men are prone to.

PITCH Africa Building: African Football Design
image : ATOPIA Research

Pitch Africa

Water is at the heart of community in Africa as well. The rain in Africa thunders down, but too often it floods away, leaving drought and thirst in its wake. Clean water that is safe to drink is always in short supply. Harvesting the rain is the future. Boreholes and reservoirs play a part, but without more creative strategies for harvesting rain so there is water for people and livestock to drink and to rehydrate the land, boreholes and reservoirs will never suffice. Bringing together water and football, PITCH impels us to think more creatively about water harvesting. In this, PITCH is perfect. — Adam Ashforth, Professor of Afro-American and African Studies, University of Michigan.

ATOPIA Research, the US based non-profit research and design organization, founded by British architect-designer duo Jane Harrison and David Turnbull, unveiled the first stage of its PITCH_Africa project in Los Angeles earlier this month with the support Annenberg Foundation. PITCH_Africa is a project that uses the catalyst of soccer to develop innovative low-cost sustainable community based rainwater harvesting infrastructures in Africa. PITCH Africa establishes a new paradigm for productive sustainable development in challenging environmental contexts. The building harvests water (1-2 million liters a year +), produces energy, irrigates crops, and actively cultivates local entrepreneurship and industry.

PITCH_Africa PITCH_Africa PITCH_Africa PITCH_Africa
photos : Annenberg Foundation

PITCH_Africa’s Los Angeles launch centered around the construction of a full sized model of PITCH_Africa’s compact rainwater harvesting street soccer pitch. Water falls on the pitch and seating, passes through through the playing surface and initial filtration layer in the  a matrix of shipping containers below, assembled and adjusted to function as a cellular water tank. Water can be used by the community for agricultural or domestic use.

To produce a potable water supply, stored water is drawn off daily into header tanks and filtered through a clay system to provide a continuous supply of drinking water. Community classrooms occupy the space under seating areas and essential community functions in the form os specially fitted containers can be added to the container matrix to provide essential amenities; latrines for young women, refrigeration for medicines and clinic resources, library and an open source digital platform. In much of the African continent, where annual rainfall is between 3-6 feet, the street soccer venue alone can harvest from 1 to over 2 million liters of water a year in much of the African Continent.

The architects describe the project as “a man-made ecosystem” that is simultaneously social, environmental and political. PITCH_Africa addresses issues of gender, health, food security and information access in an innovative and provocative way. In Africa where women and children spend much of their time walking to collect water that is often unclean, the project behaves like an oasis. Providing an alternative type of community place for women and children to gather, where they can have access to water and work and learn about issues essential to their survival, a place where children can play and learn to harvest the rain.

The first PITCH_Africa street soccer venue will be built this coming year in Kwazulu-Natal on the eastern coast of South Africa. ATOPIA_Research are working with the Annenberg Foundation and Charlize Theron’s Africa Outreach Project. Two additional locations in Africa are currently being planned.

ATOPIA Research is also working on projects in Sri Lanka, China, the Mississippi Delta in the US, and Haiti.

PITCH_Africa information from ATOPIA Research 010810

Location: Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa

African Football Buildings

African Architecture Designs – chronological list

Contemporary Africa Football Architectural Designs – key selection from e-architect:

Cape Town Stadium, South Africa
gmp von Gerkan, Marg und Partner
Green Point Stadium Building
image © Marcus Bredt, Berlin

Football for Hope Centre Africa
Football for Hope Centre Africa
image from Architecture for Humanity

Soccer City Stadium, South Africa
BUE & Partners with Populous
Soccer City South Africa
image : Boogertman Urban Edge & Ptrs / Populous
Soccer City Stadium Building

African Architectural Designs

African Buildings

Africa Architectural Designs – recent selection:

Master Plan Langue de Barbarie, Saint Louis, Senegal, West Africa
Design: Cosmos Architecture, of CosmosIvicsa
Langue de Barbarie Senegal resort buildings
images courtesy of architects practice
Langue de Barbarie resort

Niamey 2000, Niamey, Republic of the Niger, West Africa
Design: united4design / Yasaman Esmaili, Elizabeth Golden, Mariam Kamara, Philip Straeter
Niamey 2000, Niger urban housing
photo : Aboubacar Magagi
Niamey 2000

Portside Cape Town, South Africa
Louis Karol
Portside Cape Town

South Africa Buildings

British Council Building Africa

Comments / photos for the PITCH Africa BuildingAfrican Football Architecture page welcome