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Nike inspired by Russia's street football culture for multipurpose World Cup sports park

With the eyes of the world on football in Russia, I can’t think of a better time to open such an incredible sports facility
– Ronaldo

To celebrate the start of the World Cup in Russia, sports giant Nike has partnered with KOSMOS Architects to create an outdoor football court in Moscow inspired by the traditional Russian ‘korobka’ – courtyard cages for street matches.

The 4,700sq m (50,600sq ft) Nike BOX Msk in Gorky Park can be used for a variety of sports and pursuits – from basketball to gym training, running and yoga – but the design is influenced by the facilities where many Russian footballers developed their skills.

The venue has been covered with urban art to reflect its dual purpose “as an ultimate sports playground and a hub for creativity, community programming and partnerships.”

“The park has always been a magnet for sport and cultural expression and this is something we have actively tried to encourage,” said Marina Lylchuk, director of Gorky Park. “We were happy to work with Nike to create this fantastic new facility for the people of Moscow. It’s a welcome addition to Gorky Park and we are sure it will prove hugely popular.”

Around 7,300 hours of sport classes will take place at the Nike BOX Msk in its first year. This summer it will host the Korobka Rebels football tournament for 3,000 male and female players across U17 and U21 levels. It will also be used by the Children Sport Foundation, which brings sport and play into schools, and Perspektiva, which gives young people with and without physical disabilities the chance to play together.

The project has been developed alongside Strelka KB, an organisation that aims to instigate a qualitative change in Russia’s urban landscape.

Opening the facility, former Brazilian footballer, and World Cup star, Ronaldo said: “With the eyes of the world on football in Russia, I can’t think of a better time to open such an incredible sports facility. I know the passion and love fans have for the game and the launch of Box MSK will inspire the youth of Moscow to play more sport.”

This is not the first time Nike has embraced the world of architecture. It has previously created sci-fi tinged pop-up running hubs in Shanghai’s Times Square and opened a “reimagined running track” in the centre of Manila, where sprinters could race against their own avatars in a venue shaped like a huge sole print. It has also collaborated with artist Kaws to cover two of New York’s community basketball courts with his signature brightly-coloured murals.

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