Unfurling around the mountainous terrain, CARDA creates an international destination for world-class athletic training

Tucuman, Argentina

Designed to attract elite athletes from around the world, this concept for a world class high-altitude training center was intended to transform the province of Tucuman and Argentina into a premier international destination. Situated at the heart of the Tafi del Valle region along the Calchaquí Valleys of northwestern Argentina, the overall master plan of the Center for High Altitude Training (CARDA) embraces the extreme mountainous terrain by integrating the buildings into the existing topography.  

The sports training facility includes a multipurpose track and field, 250 meter velodrome, tennis courts, archery field, disc cage, shooting range, softball field, soccer field, natatorium, and various indoor sport courts. 

With the 25 hectare site located at the side of a 65 meter incline, the design winds and carves into the natural landscape, cutting and infilling repurposed soil to create flat terraces that can accommodate the large exterior playing surfaces.  

The buildings that house the interior training facilities, sports courts, pool, and recovery / residential quarters are embedded into the terrain which structurally act as retaining walls for the site while significantly reducing the amount of exterior wall surface exposed to the elements.   

Sensitively responding to four large ravines that carry rainwater and runoff down the mountains and into Lake La Angostura, the design directs these natural water paths through the site while harvesting portions for re-use throughout the complex. 

Concealing the buildings within the terrain also allows the center’s occupants and surrounding neighbors to have uninterrupted views of the gorgeous mountains to the north and the historic town to the south. 

Sustainability strategies augment the building and site’s resiliency and provide an enriched experience for all users. Natural vegetation and strategically placed stadium seating filters the strong winds from the south to provide comfort for the athletes on the fields. Embedded photovoltaics along with the earth shaped around the structures provide an insulated layer to reduce heating and cooling energy costs.   

More About the Project

Project Team

Principal Collaborators

  • Structural Engineer: Fast + Epp
  • Landscape: Balmori Associates

Project Information

  • Location: Tafi Del Ville, Tucuman, Argentina
  • Client: Fundacion INCAI, Federacion Economica de Tucuman
  • Size: 270,000 sf. / 25,000 sq. m.
  • Firm Role: Design Architect
  • Renderings by ATCHAIN