Text description provided by the architects. If Saint-Blaise area has the highest density of Europe, it does not host diversity – of activities, architectures, populations, uses – which could define it as a urban and sustainable neighborhood.
Located close to rue des Pyrénées and rue des Maraîchers, vectors of activities, Saint-Blaise area does not pursue this dynamic, and therefore represents 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, ideally a place for activities and interactions. In this area, where density, while sustainable is oppressive, this large void represents a valuable resource to unify and reveal.
Part of the dynamic launched by the Grand Projet de Renouvellement Urbain (project of urban renewal), the future cultural and sports centre takes into account those specific conditions and reacts.
COMPACTNESS /// A landmark architecture
Compact, the project becomes landmark in this dense neighborhood ; it saves ground, real resource of the area, and is developed vertically, while respecting the required and respectful distances with the surrounding buildings. In the axis of rue Mouraud, the location allows the new centre to benefit from excellent sun conditions and offers mainly views from the street to the courtyard, generous public space, with green, invisible until now.
TRANSPARENCY /// A link architecture
Transparent, the project becomes a link which establishes new perspectives and creates relationships between the different amenities of the neighborhood, by its location and materiality. Then this network of amenities (nursery, school...) in which the centre takes part of, is linked by the large public space. By the transparency and porosity of its urban hall, the centre invites, welcomes and links populations and uses. Along its four faces, the project offers and stacks a range of materialities, more or less transparent, in relation with the different activities. It adapts the building envelope to the specific needs of functions, it exposes the new uses to the inhabitants ; and during the night, it glows and lights its environment, supporting the renewal of the neighborhood attractiveness.
FLEXIBILITY /// A sustainable architecture
Flexible, the new centre is thought as a sustainable architecture. On one hand, the project answers to the functions but 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 spaces, to allow reinterpretation and refurbishment following evolutions of uses and needs.
A SUPERPOSITION OF SPACES, AMBIANCES AND CLIMATES ///
In a compact volume, the project aggregates a large diversity of functions, spaces, uses, relations to the outside, materials...and displays them in a neighborhood where there is no diversity. It is a single volume, with slightly curved faces, expressing the superposition of distinct functions in elevation, with strips surrounding the building. Each part of this ensemble, each layer of this stratification, offers its own qualities and characteristics; good to detail them through the contrasted and changing route of the centre.
Protected by the jewel-like setting of the buildings around, the project becomes a new polarity, place of convergence; it attracts and gathers urban dynamics, it projects sparkles and reflects, it inhabits and articulates a public space, revealed and given back to its neighborhood.