Cultural and Sports Center

Although the Saint-Blaise area has the highest density of Europe –  in activities, architecture, populations, uses – which could define it as an urban and sustainable neighborhood.

Located close to rue des Pyrénées and rue des Maraîchers, which can be seen as vectors of activities, the Saint-Blaise area does not pursue this dynamic, and therefore acts as an enclave. High buildings with complex geometries, mostly from the 70’s-80’s, materialize the outline of a closed arena around a large public void and makes this is an ideal place for activities and interactions. As part of the dynamic launched by the ‘Grand Projet de Renouvellement Urbain’ (project of urban renewal), the cultural and sports centre takes the specific conditions of the site into account and becomes a reaction to them.

COMPACTNESS  /// A landmark architecture
With its compact form, the project becomes a landmark in this otherwise dense neighborhood; it economizes the ground area, which is a real resource for the site, and is developed vertically, while respecting the surrounding buildings. In the axis of rue Mouraud, the location allows the new centre to benefit from excellent sun conditions but mainly offers views from the street to the courtyard, and to a generous public green space, invisible until now.

TRANSPARENCY – A link architecture
With its transparency, the project acts like a link. It establishes new perspectives and creates relationships between the different facilities of the neighborhood, by its location and materiality. This network of facilities in which the centre takes part of, is then linked by the large public space. The transparency and porosity of the centre’s urban hall, makes it possible to invite, greet and link populations and uses. Along its four faces, the project offers a large range of materials, more or less transparent, adapted to the each activity. The building thus exposes the new facilities to the inhabitants, and during the night, it glows and illuminates its environment, and contributes to the renewal of the neighborhood.

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FLEXIBILITY – A sustainable architecture
On one hand, the projects form is a direct result of its programs. However, it doesn’t freeze them. Independent from the curtain wall, its concrete structure carries a series of free floors, distributed by a core. Generosity as a common denominator of all the spaces, the project makes it possible to reinterpret and refurbish according to the evolution of the uses and needs.

The project aggregates in its compact volume a large diversity of materials, functions, spaces, uses, relations to the outside…and displays them in a neighborhood where there is otherwise no diversity. It is a single volume, with slightly curved faces, that expresses the superposition of distinct functions in elevation, with the help of strips that are encircling the building. Each part of this ensemble, each layer of this stratification, offers its own qualities and characteristics.

Protected by the jewel-like shape that the setting around provides, the project becomes a new polarity and a place of convergence:  it attracts and gathers urban dynamics, it sparkles and reflects, it inhabits and articulates a revealed public space, and gives it back to its neighborhood.

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