Horse Racecourse

Competition: Functional and architectural rehabilitation of the Ploieşti Racecourse for the realization of an Equitation and leisure Center.

1st Prize

Architecture: Alex Axinte, Cristi Borcan
Collaborators: Tudor Elian, Radu Lesevschi, Ioana Pavaluca
Landscaping: Diana Culescu
Images: Claudiu Forgaci, Alexandru Tudose
Structure: Lucian Stanciu, Mihai Pavel
Equipments: Mirela Neculai, Florentina Radu, Alexandru Damian
History consultant: Horia Moldovan
Economic: Zainea Caraman

The site where The Racecourse is located is mentioned as early as the 1920’s as one of the 3 possible parks out of the city limits.1

The site is 3km away of the future highway that links Bucharest with the mountain resorts and the Northeast of the country, and it’s location near the city limits facilitates an easy access from the capital city.2

The position near the main access boulevard in the city, and the proximity of the Oil and Gas University, makes this a City Gate, as defined in the administration’s strategy.3

The site’s internal organization grew in time, by gradually added buildings, without a coherent direction, the outcome being a chaotic and inaccessible function.

We propose some of the buildings to be demolished (the stock buildings, the stables and the tribune), some to be restored/renovated (the gate, the old stable, the water tower and the administration building).4

The first intervention on the site is to modify the landscape as a reaction to the race track and the main access, creating a natural earth bank.5

We propose 3 functional zones:

West area - with the main access, the Leisure zone, where we propose to restore the fair function (as it was before the WWII), together with the hotel.

Central area - with the race track in the middle and the spectators on one side and the horses on the other (we propose that the tribune and the stables to face each, for the spectators to have in sight the constant dynamism across the track, between the races).

East area - with the sport function - The Horsemanship School and the Administration facilities.

There are 3 different atmospheres, qualities: West - landscape filter, Center area - distance, East - informal.6

Landscape concept



Landscape intervention steps:10

Site plan:


The Hotel and The Mixed-Use Complex

Because their functions are complementary, The Hotel and the Mixed-Use complex are placed together. Their public functions are connected through a snail like path that is materialized in the facades.

For some types of events, the exhibition space of the main multi-use hall can be extended outside in the park through the glass openings of the facades.1314151617

The Tribune

The volume of the tribune is modeled by 3 main cuts: 1. the spectators’ standings, 2. a protected public space in the main access area (the back of the tribune) and 3. the optimum orientation of the roof for photovoltaic panels.

In the horizontal direction the volume is lift on columns above a generous public space which contains the betting booths, shops, and the court of honor which is like an amphitheatre for the horse parade before the race.

In the vertical direction the public spaces from the first and second floors are connected with the public plaza on the ground floor through 4 escalators.

The side façade is an icon image that carries on the perception of the 70’s building.18192021222324

The stables

The stables are positioned across the track from the spectators’ standings in order to see the constant dynamism between the races.

We grouped the 2 functions that a horse needs: housing and relaxation/walking, and our proposal is a circular shape stable around the paddock that uses efficiently the limited space of the site.

The 300 stables are distributed in a village like shape formed by 9 circular units, with a network of curved spaces that mimics the natural movements of the horses.25262728

The Riding School

The Riding School is centered with the old stable building that becomes o background for the riding events that take place in the riding hall.

All the other spaces of the school - coffee shop, locker rooms, teaching school, administration area are placed around a central medieval like open court, with the water tower acting as the campanile. All the different internal fluxes of people meet in this central area.

An elevator and a stair are placed in the interior of the water tower to reach the panoramic bar above.

The training paddocks are outside the Riding School, with the largest of them (50×100m) being for international competitions. We decided to leave this paddock uncovered, with the possibility of covering it with an inflatable structure (the initial investment is cheap, planning costs are zero, the heating and the ventilation are included and most important it can be assembled and disassembled very easy).293031323334353637

Administration building

We decided that at present, the existing administration building is mostly fitted structurally and functionally but we thought at a vertical and horizontal extension with some needed public facilities like a reception area, an eating area, a meeting area and an area designated to the jockeys - locker rooms, showers, bathrooms.3839