Architects: Archi5, Borja Huidobro
Location: Toulon, France
Landscape Architects: Michel Desvigne
Client: Toulon Provence Méditerranée
Area: 4,500 sqm
Photographs: Sergio Grazia
With the mountains on one side and the Mediterranean Sea on the other, The Léo Lagrange stadium stands on a site that is limited in space but with limitless views out to sea, enhancing the remarkable landscape.
The sports complex is a vast urban park devoted to sporting and fun activities containing three regional rugby and football pitches, international athletics and six school playing fields.
The architectural project fits seamlessly into the environment while accenting the highly visible quality of a public facility and its centrality as a gathering point and meeting place. It provides a breathing space in a relatively dense fabric, a public sphere in harmony with its location.
The architectural urban design is structured by its legibility, consistency and openness to the venue. All constructed volumes for competition and greeting the public are concentrated within a covered public footbridge designed like a jetty that recalls Toulon’s historic ties with the sea.
The jetty’s aerial architecture makes it seem detached from the ground, hovering above massed vegetation that structures the site and resembling a huge sailing ship at anchor. It offers a covered, belvedere-like walkway with close-up views of the sport fields and more distant ones of the horizon and Mount Faron.
Drawing its inspiration from the flowing dynamics of sport, the jetty’s textile cover describes flexible, generous movement that matches the spectators’ “Mexican waves” and harmonizes with the surrounding landscape. Its form changes incessantly depending on where it is viewed from.
The cover’s fabric, the metal, wood and non-reflecting glass create a volume that captures the subtle colours of natural light with the covering fabric taking on the hues of the sky and land.
At night the inner-lit textile cover turns into a luminous ribbon like a wave of light and gives full expression to the place’s sporting and event functions. Visible from a distance, the jetty provides the region with a new landmark.