The European Prize for Architecture Awards Tell a friend
Credits: Manuelle Gautrand Architecture
Client: Ville de Saint-Louis
Surface: 10.000 m²
Photographer: Guillaume Guérin & Luc Boegly
This project takes its place in a mixed environment of private houses, housing estates and small industrial sites. Within this urban fabric close to the town centre, the huge site enabled us to provide something that is generous and flexible.
The building comprises two principal spaces, a functions room and a large sports hall-cum-auditorium. In reality, each of these two rooms can be used for a wide variety of events: the functions room can host conferences, theatrical productions or banquets, and the large hall, while it is in regular use for sports activities, can be transformed into a concert hall with a capacity of up to 2,000, or used for exhibitions.
In the light of this range of use, we conceived a project that was entirely modular and on one level, with the support spaces distributed efficiently around the two principal volumes. On a smaller scale, these give the impression of absorbing the considerably taller main spaces, which they surround and make less visible.
The overall footprint is broken down into 12 distinct volumes, whose heights increase progressively towards the centre of the composition. On the west side, the large entrance hall gives access to both the functions room and the large hall; to the east, the changing rooms have direct access into the hall for its sports activities, while on the north side, storage spaces are accessible from all areas.
Each of these 12 volumes has a double-pitch roof. Inspiration for this comes from the surrounding rooflines, but here it is used in a way that gives a sculptural feel to the project, as if pleated, in order to conceal the services within the roof.
The ensemble of these volumes is clad in a unifying metallic envelope, giving the building a character that is at once both powerful and delicate; large perforated metal sheets are joined to form an almost entirely continuous envelope around facades and roofs. The colour also takes its inspiration from the surroundings: a warm tone found in the brick walls, industrial tiles and, often, local render, which we wanted to revisit with sophistication and variety. The panels of sheet metal are covered in a transparent, copper-tinted varnish, whose metallic colour varies from bright orange to pale salmon-pink according to light levels and conditions.
Inside the building, this shimmering palette is continued in many forms: in the entrance hall a perforated sheet metal reception bar with great light canopy above that filters and projects light around the room, as well as in all the signage, the large acoustic panels in the two halls and, finally, on selected floors and walls.