Gymnase INP / Laurens & Loustau Architectes


Architects: Laurens & Loustau Architects
Location: Toulouse (31), France
Project Team: Marc Laurens, Pierre Loustau, Elsa Hiernaux, Joanne Pouzenc
Client: S.A Cogemip, Région Midi-Pyrénées
Engineer: Iosis Sud-Ouest
Project Area: 1,493 sqm
Project Year: 2006-2008
Photographs: Stéphane Chalmeau

The  building displayed is the new INP gymnasium, situated on the universuity campus of Toulouse-labège, in the middle of a 20 hectares park.This new gymnasium is part of a developing programme for the campus with a view to the building of The ENSIACET on this new site.The project of implanting  a new gymnasium on the INP grounds considers the whole site as a university campus at the heart of a quality environment. It is inscribed in the future of this campus and finds its place in a harmonious way at the center of the organisation with the future great complex/estate/ of the INSIACET.

site plan
© Stéphane Chalmeau

The implantation of the INP gymnasium allows one take architecture further than mere building. The architectural composition generates a  an axis directly going from the heart of the project to the esplanade of the future ENSIACET. Space is thus reconsidered beyond the programmatic requirements. The entrance is situated at the heart of the building distributing its  different functions: the climbing wall ; the new multisport facilities and the utilities units, linking the new construction to the former gymnasium. The entrance and the hall at the heart of the building open onto an ” in-between ” space, a kind of long, narrow patio, linking up the former preserved building and the new room. The architectural interpretation of the programme produces 3 simple and differentiated volumes strictly corresponding to the various expected uses; The utilities are gathered in a sober linear block, perpendicular to the main axis, covered with vertical black-veined bardage?cladding Set in the background this small volume disappears behind the 2 main functions of the building. The verticality of the building dedicated to climbing is reinforced by the treatment of its Skin, made of inclined aluminum cover. The angles are softened by fine curves that the cladding smoothly covers.

© Stéphane Chalmeau

The dialogue already instored between the project of the ENSIACET and this sport center is stressed by the shape of the new gymnasium leaning towards it thus creating a dynamic movement. The gymnasium, blind on 3 facades, covered with gold-veined bardage.  following the inclination given to the volume, both widely and discreetly opens on its 4th North-East front on the patio according to the main axis. From this space the multisport facilities enjoy constant bright light thanks to the use of polycarbonate in its higher part. The skin is seen as an envelope naturally curving according to volumes and uses: Shape breeds matter and matter gives birth to shape;The resulting architectural design is simple and complex at the same time;The project is marked with an impression of lightness and delicacy despite its monumentality.

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Gymnase INP / Laurens & Loustau Architectes" 24 May 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 26 May 2015. <>