On any Saturday, 60 or more kids and their families are playing in the Sunnyvale Park, many of them kicking a soccer ball. In this area of Salt Lake County, about 40th South and 7th West, a new attraction in the park is a soccer training wall and target practice designed by a group of young architects and architectural students. It is the result of a Design/Build Competition won by a team which named their design WEST, for Women Engagement Society Training.
The team which included GSBS Architects' Ron Rezvan, won The Sunnyvale Project, sponsored by Salt Lake County – Women in Architecture. According to Ron, the Sunnyvale neighborhood hosts a large refugee and immigration community. “The competition was for a public installation to create fun soccer-related activities and to encourage youth immigrants to use their public amenities,” he said. It is working! “Our design team could really identify with the kids and their families because we know what it is like to live in a new country.”
Ron and his team of three men and three women designers are all Iranian or Iranian-Americans. He, Massih Nilforoushan, Zahra Hassanipour, and Ardavan Tookaloo all went to Tehran University of Art for their Bachelor of Architecture. Reihaneh Noori is working on her Master’s degree in architecture at the University of Utah and Elaheh Zarezade recently graduated.
The competition specified a $4000 budget and strict schedule for “an environmentally conscious design.” Accordingly, the team created a wood structure that has a target practice net with round targets made from used bike tires, fixed seating and a solid training wall, and uses recycled materials in its construction. The installation is now an active location in the park.