Location43 Route du Rhin, 67100 Strasbourg, France
AZC’s teamAlexie Bertrand, Stefano Lunardi
PartnersJost, Hagenmuller, Sedime, E3 Economie, CAP Avenir, Euro Sound Project, François Liermann
From the architect. The Neudorf area of Strasbourg is undergoing a major programme of redevelopment to fill the void that currently separates the city centre from its southern neighbourhoods. This urban project particularly exploits the site’s central location and the pleasant canal-side landscape, proposing densification as an alternative response to the sprawl of housing and facilities on the edges of the city.
The sports centre is one of the major new projects for the neighbourhood. Its volume and its position are very visible from the crossroads at the Route du Rhin. The building meets two challenges: to have an ambitious, resolutely contemporary design and to respectfully engage with its surroundings. The volume was determined by the various dimensions of the elements of the project brief and how they would fit onto an L-shaped plot with a surface area of approximately 3,600 sqm.
A sports centre has specific fixed volumetric requirements – the templates imposed by sports facilities – that leave little scope for complex volumes. Our approach was pragmatic and compact, and took into consideration the imposing scale of the long facades.
The project establishes a transparency through the building, giving transversal views in both directions. It respects the positioning dictated by urban planning rules, has a rigorous but not rigid geometry, and a contemporary design. The main sports hall is sunken 2m into the ground reducing the volume of the building and placing it favourably in relation to the public space around it.
The architectural design was closely linked to decisions about construction, supported by the demands of the brief and the city’s desire to use, in quantity, a renewable and also sustainable material: timber.
More specifically, our project consists of a concrete plinth that accommodates the multi-sports hall, the stands, changing rooms, entrance hall and cafeteria, on top of which sits a box that houses a fencing hall with its own dedicated changing rooms. These elements employ a range of construction methods that are clearly expressed in the exterior massing of the building as well as in its interiors.
Using concrete to construct the plinth was necessary because the multi-sports hall will be heavily used by sports clubs and members of the public. The facades here are made of prefabricated insulated concrete sandwich panels.
Above this concrete plinth is a steel-reinforced timber post structure. The structural columns are positioned at 1.6m intervals, defining the architecture of the facades with their regular rhythm and thickness and allowing transparency.
Between the columns, the building envelope comprises glazed panels at the lower level with insulated timber panels above, giving the sports centre a significant amount of natural light from three sides. The transparent, light image is designed to enhance the site.
On entering the building, the volume of the sports hall is clearly visible from the entrance
, surrounded by the vertical timber members that create the look of a forest clearing.
The Neudorf sports centre will provide facilities for a range of clubs and associations, including fencing, handball, basketball, badminton and gymnastics, serving a varied public of schoolchildren and adults. The positions of the sports hall and fencing hall were dictated by the brief, with the fencing room upstairs. While following this brief we worked to create the most appropriate massing.
The building benefits from having two separate entrances, the first at ground-floor level via the main entrance hall is for the general public, whilst the second service entrance is reserved for clubs, school groups, sports equipment, the maintenance platform and ambulances. Both entrances are step free and accessible to vehicles.
The sports hall has changing rooms through which the hall is accessed. The fencing hall’s changing rooms have a single entrance directly from it.
The cafeteria is on a mezzanine level and extends out onto an exterior terrace.
Between the entrance hall and the mezzanine, above the sports hall changing rooms, with no public access, is a hidden level, where most of the technical spaces are located (the boiler room, heating and air conditioning), with direct access from the street on the north side of the building.
In order to meet demands for durability and easy maintenance for this facility, and also to ensure budgets were respected, we approached this project in great detail and worked to fulfil all the client’s requirements.
The building is efficient in terms of energy use, it benefits from an optimal amount of natural daylighting in both the sports halls, as well as in the circulation spaces, the entrance hall, major routes through the building, and some of the changing rooms. The sports halls can be naturally ventilated to keep temperatures comfortable.