Thailand’s Shape-Shifting Soccer Fields Are a Triumph of Urban Ingenuity

With a little ingenuity, the team was able to design soccer fields that, while asymmetrical, are balanced enough to facilitate fair gameplay.

Pat Finn Pat Finn

Creativity flourishes under constraints. This is why poets, musicians and painters often work within pre-established forms rather than take a “free for all” approach. Architects do the same thing, except that, in addition to self-imposed constraints, they face logistical ones and those imposed by clients. It is a testament to the profession that, faced with all these different types of roadblocks, architects continually rise to the occasion, designing memorable buildings under restrictive conditions.

The relationship between constraints and creativity is clearly illustrated by the “Unusual Football Field” project in Bangkok, Thailand. A series of four asymmetrical soccer fields — or football pitches as they are called in some countries — this project arose from the simple fact that Bangkok’s most crowded neighborhoods have little room for conventional recreation areas.

Rather than write off the idea of public soccer fields altogether, the real-estate development firm AP Thailand decided to take advantage of small, irregularly shaped open spaces scattered throughout Khlong Toei, one of the city’s most densely populated regions. With a little ingenuity, the team was able to design soccer fields that, while asymmetrical, are balanced enough to facilitate fair gameplay.

“This unusual football field has proven that designing outside boundaries can help foster creativity used to develop these useful spaces,” said a representative from CJ Worx, the ad agency representing the project. “We hope that other communities will adapt this idea to change their own irregular space.”

It seems likely that these unique soccer fields will inspire creativity on the field, as players are forced to adapt their playing styles to new conditions. One L-shaped field, for instance, impairs visibility, a fact that players will need to learn to work around and perhaps even use to their advantage. Sports, like architecture, often rewards resourcefulness and ingenuity.

All photos via the Guardian

Pat Finn Author: Pat Finn
Pat Finn is a high school English teacher and a freelance writer on art, architecture, and film. He believes, with Orwell, that "good prose is like a windowpane," but his study of architecture has shown him that a window is only as good as the landscape it looks out on. Pat is based in the New York metro area.
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