Soccer ignoramuses like me might not be able to tell you why the yellow cards are flying or why the announcer is so excited. We can tell you one thing: the field’s supposed to be a rectangle.
But in dense urban neighborhoods, perfectly rectangular lots can be in short supply. One solution? Convert the weirdly-shaped lots, which blight the space between buildings, into beautiful–albeit unusual–Tetris-like soccer fields. That’s what AP Thailand, a real estate developer located in Bangkok, is doing in collaboration with digital design agency CJ Worx, as recently pointed out by Designboom.
To create community play spaces for people living in the central Bangkok Khlong Toei district, the two firms are buying up irregularly shaped open lots, cleaning them up, and converting them into football pitches. You can see some of their work in the video below.
The results aren’t exactly regulation, but that seemingly only makes them more fun, adding new dimensions to the game, like 90-degree bends to maneuver around from one side of the field to the other, or even billiards-like obstructions–made up of old shipping containers and odd walls–to try to bank goals off of. If you think that football greats can’t come out of such improvised conditions, think again. Legendary soccer great Pelé grew up in such abject poverty that he learned to play football with a sock stuffed with newspaper.
It’s a laudable initiative, and an example if urban infill, which gives seemingly unusable spaces new life as everything from affordable homes to barnacle-like office spaces and thriving cultural destinations.
As the designers at AP Thailand put it, “If we give importance to the useless spaces that surround us, they will cease to be useless.”