Architect Ahmed Faouzi wanted this project to be seen as a new, urban landmark of the city. The Pierre Mendès France sports hall in the city of Villeneuve d’Ascq, in northern France, was renovated to be more energy-efficient and, at the same time, was given a new, more inviting building envelope. The sports hall can now continue to keep the city’s cultural and sporting heritage alive.
A colorful sports hall
The commune of Villeneuve d’Ascq, on the eastern edge of the city of Lille, in northern France, was voted France’s sportiest city in 1996. And no wonder – the town invests more than 10 % of its annual budget in sport and exercise.
The town has a population of just over 60 000 inhabitants and a total of 27 sports halls, including the Pierre Mendès France facility, in the district of Prés. It was originally built in 1984 and restoration work to the building was completed in 2018. The sports centre has a total area of 700 m2 and comprises two single-storey buildings, one of which houses the sports courts, while the other contains changing rooms and toilets.
Today, the sports hall is colourful, open and flooded with light – the architect has succeeded in creating an airy yet expressive structure that conveys a sense of activity to visitors from the moment they enter the building.
“The idea is that the base of the building anchors it to the ground and is reminiscent of a mixture of tree bark and soil.” - Ahmed Faouzi, architect.
The double-skinned, lower part of the brick building was clad in Terca facing bricks. “The idea is that the base of the building anchors it to the ground and is reminiscent of a mixture of tree bark and soil,” says Ahmed Faouzi, the municipal architect, about the visual concept. The effect was achieved using Terca Marono bricks in chestnut brown with a deliberately rustic surface. In addition to the basic choice of brick in its irregular shades of brown, the same extruded brick also appears on the façade in a range of colourful variations.
The result is a non-uniform, natural overall look with colourful accents on the base of this modern sporting facility. The sports hall itself is perched – almost floating – on top, and the large windows and lightweight design let lots of light into the gymnasium. The combination of brick, wood and steel panels makes for a durable structure and creates a playful, yet clear, aesthetic for the renovated building. “The robust and homely aspect of the brick base combined with the variety of textures and colours lends a sense of lightness to the building despite its size and height”, says the planner.
The newly renovated sports hall means that not only has the city made one of its most important buildings fit for the future, but it has also upgraded the urban landscape with a colourful, modern structure.
Facts & Figures
Project name: Pierre Mendès France sports centre, Villeneuve d’Asq, France