Speculative | 2011
The 2012 America's Cup in San Francisco is comprised of a complex series of events and races that increase in scale from a Youth Cup of 5,000 spectators to the final America's Cup Regatta of 100,000 spectators. This requires not only a phaseable solution, but an architecture that accommodates modular expansion and open views during all phases. The thin-shell structural vault provides openness, modular self-sufficiency, and reflects the aesthetics and culture of the sailing events. By allowing the vault to touch down on the ground either on points or edges, gentle interior partitions are set, guiding occupants and establishing zones for various activities and programs. The shells are cast with standardized, cost-effective board formworks which are then used to build a mirrored, gently sloping ground surface that allow for bleacher-like views to the water, and allow for support programs such as ticket booths and restrooms to be unobtrosively integrated into the landscape. The malleability of structural vaulting systems also allows for modulation from very large to intimate spans, accommodating private VIP lounges, large spectator spaces, and enclosed exhibit spaces. To allow for greater light and openness, the roof surfaces are also perforated following a finite element analysis of surface stresses within the shell to maximize light while maintaining structural integrity. The orientation of the perforation is driven by solar azimuth and orientation, to allow for either direct or indirect light according to specific programmatic needs in each zone.