Populous’ Gaming House to redefine Esports experience


Gaming House of the Future - Populous Image: Populous

At a time when the Esports industry is witnessing a phenomenal growth, architecture firm Populous, sensing the opportunity, has come up with a timely and spectacular new concept design to project what the top gaming centers might look like in times to come.

Unveiling the conceptual designs for the ‘Gaming House of the Future’ at a WIRED Live event at the Tate Modern in London in November, Populous said that the innovative new Esports training center will “take the performance of professional Esports athletes to the next level”. The Gaming House includes sections for pro Esports players to live in and other areas for fans to experience and watch matches.

As the Esports industry continues to grow, a number of large-scale, purpose-built venues having been built across the world. Earlier this year, partnered with the City of Arlington in Texas on the new Esports Stadium Arlington project, a 100,000-square-foot space that it is set to become the largest venue of its kind in the US.

Populous has devised the training centre in response to a growing demand within the booming Esports industry for purpose-built venues, which has seen the emergence of the world’s first large-scale Esports arenas in China and the US,” Populous said in an official press release.

Such is the growth of Esports that forecasters estimate its global revenues, which have doubled over the last two years to £565 million, will have surpassed £1 billion by 2020 and its global audience reached almost 600 million. In this context, it is not surprising that more emphasis is being placed on supporting the stars of the show, the Esports athletes, an area that is currently underdeveloped in comparison to mainstream sports.

Christopher Lee, managing director EMEA at Populous, said: “The Esports industry is booming but its stars, the elite gamers, are not benefitting from the range and quality of training facilities their counterparts in mainstream sports have come to take for granted. Facilities like the Gaming House of the Future will help to focus minds on the physical and mental wellbeing of Esports athletes and provide environments that support the continued growth of professional gaming.”

The Gaming House of the Future has been designed to accommodate separate space for wellness, performance and living to support the Esports players that would use it.

“The futuristic training complex is embedded in the urban fabric, with the two tower design incorporating two pre-existing buildings as part of the wider development. One, a former cinema, has been reconfigured to house a high-tech events space together with an interactive exhibition and retail experience; the other is the team’s business headquarters,” the official press release stated.

Primarily, the facility has been designed to encourage a healthy work-life balance for the next generation of gamers-turned-Esports athletes, who will be entering a profession where most are retired by their mid-20s, often as a result of burnout or fatigue.

To achieve this, Populous has created a clear physical divide between the training facilities in one tower, and areas dedicated to downtime and relaxation in the other. The South Tower contains sleeping quarters, a lounge, gym and physiotherapy room; the North Tower houses training and data analysis facilities including The Cube, where each athlete has a dedicated ‘battle station’, configured to meet their specific requirements. A swimming pool and rooftop gardens provide further spaces for athletes to unwind in.

Unlike in traditional sports, Esports training does not require the athletes to go outside. Instead, they hone their skills in dimly lit training rooms, often with little or no natural light. The living spaces at the Gaming House of the Future will be open and flooded with daylight to ensure athletes suffer no mental or physical fatigue by staying in rooms with little or no natural light. Healthy menus will also be offered, while additional features of the complex include a skate park and climbing wall.

At street level the landscaped public realm comprises a skate park and climbing wall which creates a year-round visitor destination designed to draw people to the area even on non-event days, ensuring that the development serves a wider community beyond just that of Esports.

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