Multifunctional Biathlon Stadium | Archigeum Sp. z o.o. | Architect of The Year Awards 2023

Archigeum Sp. z o.o.: Winner of Architect of The Year Awards 2023. Kubalonka – the pass in the Silesian Beskids is currently the second cross-country skiing resort in Poland, right after the famous Jakuszyce. The area is supervised by the Polish Ski Association, which, as far as possible, provides training conditions for winter sports.

The Kubalonka Pass is a beautiful place, with a forested landscape rich in vegetation and hiking trails, such as the Main Beskid Route or the route to the Vistula River. The area is valuable in terms of tourism and landscape, and the numerous hills and slopes make it a great place for winter sports and promoting the activation of population, especially children and young people.

Currently, the existing infrastructure – cross-country trails – is used by Nordic combined athletes and biathletes, as well as professional and amateur runners. The layout of the trails creates a labyrinth of loops with route lengths: of 300 m; 750 m; 1400 m; 2.5 km; 5 km and more.

In order to make training at a professional level possible, the landowner decided that it should be rebuilt and designed as a bespoke facility, which will allow for training at the world-class level.

Its location, due to the terrain conditions and the optimal height, makes it possible for the facility to be used as a training and teaching base for athletes of other team sports as well.

The investor’s intention is to obtain a modern sports facility adapted to the needs of professional training of Nordic combined athletes, biathletes, and runners, including young people and national teams, with the possibility of conducting championship-level contests/competitions – e.g. the World Cup, and in the future, possibly the World Championships and the Olympic Games, as well as other sports events. The facility should also be universal and allow for organising concerts and events, including cultural and sports events.

Following an analysis of land development and an assessment of the investor’s needs, our studio began to develop a design concept for a sports facility entitled ‘Multifunctional Biathlon Stadium’. The stadium as a whole consists of two architectural structures: the main structure with the stadium arena, and a year-round underground tunnel for cross-country skiing with a 1 km long route.

The form of the main structure with the stadium arena results from the use of the terrain shape and the subsequent development of the roof. This step allowed the newly designed facility to fit into the nature of the slopes and terrain conditions. The structure is simple and compact, with the parameters of a cuboid covered with a flat roof.

Meltwater from the roof is used for maintenance and stored in special rain tanks.

The main structure under the stadium arena was filled with accompanying functions necessary for the implementation of the training task, i.e. sports, hotel, service, catering, administrative, garage, and technical functions. This allowed to create a self-sufficient sports facility that is able to provide its guests with comprehensive services.

The design includes approximately 100 beds, a large 4-storey underground car park with 240 parking spaces, wellness facilities, gyms, training rooms, refreshment rooms, and conference facilities with equipment for organising sports events. On the roof, the grandstand was designed with the possibility of expansion with mobile stands, depending on the nature of the sports spectacle and the cultural event.

The “permanent” grandstand has 1136 seats. It is possible to add movable stands for an additional 672 seats.

This solution not only optimises the need to keep the facility ready, but also reduces the costs resulting from its operation during the period outside major sports events.

Due to the multifunctional nature of the facility, it is allowed, for example, to transform the Biathlon Stadium into a multifunctional pitch, e.g. a football pitch, which gives additional possibilities for adding movable stands around the arena. By adding movable stands, it is possible to obtain approximately 3600 seats, which allows to create an immersive football stadium. 

Entering the roof slab is possible through the facility directly from the car park by means of vertical communication (staircases and elevators), through the main entrance by means of vertical communication, and from the side by the main communication leading from bottom to top along the facade of the facility. There are also additional technological routes around the facility for the personnel and other services.

The facade of the main structure is inclined. The material used on the facade is Cor-Ten steel characterised by a natural, raw patina, which ages in a unique way over the years. Its proper use guarantees an impressive and lasting effect without the need for maintenance. This steel is 100% recyclable.

The division of the façade was also taken into consideration, so that its rhythm is even and gives the impression of lightness.

Panels were used on the facade, which gives the building a distinctive character and a structured look.

The facade is illuminated from the south-west side, which allows to provide light to the rooms intended for the stay of people.

The internal functional division of the main structure with the stadium arena

with the division into levels:

Level 0

This level provides the main communication of the facility. From here, it is possible to enter the multi-storey garage. The garage has been designed to handle both sports and other events, as well as the ongoing service of the facility’s users (athletes, amateurs of active recreation, tourists, etc.). It serves as a potential technical and service area. Level 0 was designed as a higher one in order to ensure the possibility of parking buses and specialised national team personnel vehicles. Level 0 has 12 parking spaces.

In addition, this level also includes the main entrance to the facility through the entrance hall with the main reception. Another function is the basement with technical facilities and locker units for national teams/players. Level 0 provides vertical communication with the use of staircases and special lifts also adapted to the transport of equipment.

Level 1

Level 1 concentrates the rooms of the catering function, which is the main service of the hotel operation. The catering function is separated to serve athletes and tourists independently. In addition, level 1 includes a swimming pool area with facilities. The designed observation deck located in the south-western corner complements the catering function and also allows for operation in the summer. 

Level 1 includes a garage with 85 parking spaces.

Level 2

Level 2 concentrates rooms with an accommodation function (hotel) with facilities, a wellness function, technical facilities, and an additional zone of entry to the building. Level 2 also includes a garage with 91 parking spaces.

This level is connected with the tunnel – the underground year-round running route, which, according to the investor’s instructions, is to be built in the second stage.

Level 3

Level 3 concentrates rooms with an accommodation function (hotel) with facilities, a supplementary fitness function, and administrative and technical facilities.

Level 3 also includes a garage with 91 parking spaces.

Level 4

This is the same level as the Biathlon Stadium and, at the same time, serves as the roof of the facility. The proposed function was designed to handle sports and other events. Level 4 includes rooms for journalists, sports events staff, service facilities, and sanitary facilities.

Levels 4 and 5 should be treated as floors closely related to each other for the purpose of maintaining the sports function of the facility.

Level 5

Rooms related to the operation of the Biathlon Stadium, including facilities for commentators, judges’ offices, administration rooms, a conference room, sanitary facilities, etc. 

Levels 4 and 5 should be treated as floors closely related to each other for the purpose of maintaining the sports function of the facility.


The second part of the investment is a year-round tunnel with a 1 km running route. For optimisation purposes, it was decided that the facility is completely hidden underground, which allows to maintain proper thermal insulation of the partitions. This will further optimise the cost of energy needed to maintain snow and a temperature close to 0 °C. Both parts of the project will operate on a year-round basis.

The designed building meets all conditions related to the safety of users and takes into account the standards, norms, and regulations provided for this type of facility. The facilities were designed on the basis and in accordance with the guidelines of the IBU (International Biathlon Union).

Year-round running route – tunnel – with technical facilities: internal functional division of the underground tunnel


Level 0

Level 0 provides the main function of the year-round training in snow-retaining conditions. 

The hall and tunnel are connected to the hotel and service facility with an administrative part and a multi-storey garage by means of a connector from level 2.

The hall and the tunnel were designed to handle sports events and training sessions. It is also a potential technical area. This part includes a garage, a machine room and areas for snow storage.

In winter, it is possible to provide snow through the designed chute from the roof level, and then distribute its layers along the tunnel routes using snow groomers. 


The scope of the project includes:

  • construction of a sports facility – Biathlon Stadium with accompanying infrastructure, construction of a hotel and service facility with an administrative part and a multi-storey garage,
  • construction of an underground year-round running route – tunnel – with technical facilities and accompanying infrastructure, sports facilities and technical infrastructure,
  • modernisation of water and sewage systems,
  • rebuilding the lighting system,
  • redevelopment, rebuilding access roads and communication system,
  • renovation and extension of the existing transformer station,
  • extension (modernisation) of the pumping station
  • modernisation of the sound system,
  • construction of stands,
  • construction of a fence,
  • installation of control and measurement equipment,

Basic technical parameters of the hotel and service facility with

an administrative area and a multi-storey garage:

  • Number of underground floors: 0
  • Number of floors above ground: 6
  • Height of the front facade with the main entrance: 26.20 m
  • Building area: 6772.68 m2
  • Usable area: 24644.48 m2
  • Total area: 28311.12 m2
  • Cubic volume: 124833.03 m3
  • Number of seats in permanent stands: 1136
  • Number of seats in movable stands: 672
  • Number of seats for people with disabilities: 30
  • Number of seats in the VIP grandstand: 70
  • Number of seats in movable stands in case of the arrangement of a football pitch: 1792
  • Width: 76.70
  • Length: 86.60

Basic technical parameters of the underground year-round running route – tunnel –

with technical facilities

  • Number of underground floors: 1
  • Total area: 10675.0 m2
  • Cubic volume: 89220.0 m3
  • Width: 68.3 m
  • Length: 251.9 m

Balance of terrain areas

  • Building area: 5715.0 m2
  • Building area of the passage under the stadium arena: 1659.0 m2
  • Building area of the underground running route: 10688.0 m2
  • Paved circulation area on the site: 8269.0 m2
  • Paved area on the ceiling: 4086.0 m2
  • Paved surface of the corrected running route: 8500.0 m2
  • Biologically active area 50%: 2650.0 m2

Biologically active area 50%: 4350.0 m2

Project Details
Archigeum Sp. z o.o.

Przemek Gawęda

Project Name
Multifunctional Biathlon Stadium

Architect of the Year

Project Location
Wisła / Istebna / Kubalonka

Przemek Gawęda, Marcin Sajdak, Dariusz Witucki, Jakub Kajdasz, Jan Kowal


Photography ©Credit
©Archigeum Sp. z o.o.

“PRZEMEK GAWĘDA was born in 1985 in Inowrocław in central Poland. He currently lives in Bydgoszcz. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Architecture of the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice. He is a doctoral student at the Joint Doctoral School of the Silesian University of Technology. He also completed International Postgraduate Studies in Spatial Planning at the Poznań University of Technology. He has participated in and been a winner of international contests. He has also initiated and coordinated international research projects in the field of sports architecture.

In May this year (2023), he received the award for the best architect in Europe 40 UNDER 40

The ARCHIGEUM Studio was established to implement architectural design in the broad sense of the term. The architects devote a lot of attention to research and innovative projects. Innovative features appear incorporated in the design of sports facilities but also in public and residential designs and renovations. The studio also does not avoid addressing topics related to design of structures imposed to extreme conditions, i.e., an area of architecture that can and should, in the near future, provide a field for much research and revision. This is about space design and the scientific aspects that result from it.

The ARCHIGEUM architects view design as a constant process of experimentation with both form and function. It is impossible for architecture to remain applicable to a rapidly evolving reality unless it addresses the challenges of today but also takes into account what might happen in the future. Our architecture must therefore adapt to the space and time in which it is designed.

“The design trends we pursue in the professional field stem primarily from our interests which is an added appeal but also a value in itself. The architecture we create does not arise from plebiscites or opinion polls – it expresses our views and design beliefs as we do not seek or make compromises in design. Architecture is either good or bad. There is also nothing good in between. – says studio leader Przemek Gawęda.