Transparent Soccer


If one were to choose a material on all to represent contemporary architecture, this would be glass. The possibility of creating closed spaces through the use of transparent walls is undoubtedly fascinating, and this has led in recent decades to the most daring experiments that have found the highest quality peaks in High-Tech architecture.

Sir Norman Foster, Reichstag Berlin, 1999

What is more interesting, especially because it concerns us even more closely, is the fact that the phenomenon in these last 10/15 years has fully invested even the equipment and sports fields, especially private.

The spark comes from the Padel, a sport that has existed for 30 years but has only been established in the last decade thanks to the choice of replacing the masonry walls with glass walls in order to make it much more spectacular and enjoyable by the public.

The transition to 5-a-side is much more recent, but the requests grow exponentially. Until today the Jorkyball was the only interesting and systematic application of transparent walls to the game of football, this also because the 5-a-side, having walls never higher than 1 m, never had real problems of visibility. Despite this, the market is growing vertiginously and the actors that compose it are constantly looking for found that can make their sports center more and more spectacular.

Sofive Elkins Park Philadelphia

Starting from the logic of the padel, the phenomenon has led to the emergence of tempered glass on the other types of glass also for the 5-a-side for the following reasons:

  • High flexural strength
  • High resistance to dynamic inputs
  • High resistance to abrasion (therefore immune to grains of sand)
  • Break in many small fragments that is decidedly less dangerous for the players


In these months WSB is building its first Club in China (Shanghai) with 5 5-a-side fields made entirely of tempered glass. Investors for this first club have decided to focus a lot on quality and spectacularization going to involve the best players in the industry. Ideally located on the fifth floor of a newly built mall in the dense center of Shanghai, and established the official agreement with the Paris-Saint-Germain football club and Nike, have entrusted the interior design to the renowned studio of DBX architecture while for the 5-a-side fields they turned to WSB Sport aware of the great international experience. Given the small spaces, we opted for small fields but made transparent thanks to a special structure in tempered glass, optimized just for the occasion.

The fields of this new center are divided into two types: indoor and outdoor.

The indoor is a fully glazed field up to 2.8 m in height, with 12 mm thick tempered glass and metal structure.

PSG Park, Shanghai indoor pitch

On the other hand, the outdoor presents all the characteristics of the 5-a-side but with tempered glass panels instead of sandwich panels. WSB Sport has adopted this solution several times, the most recent and interesting case is in Philadelphia where with So Five it was decided to characterize in this way a long side of the large indoor field.

PSG Park, Shanghai outdoor pitch

The 5-a-side in China is still in fact a market to be created, so the choice to make 3vs3 fields of superior quality and in very inhabited areas will certainly prove to be a winner.


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