Text description provided by the architects. The multi-functional sports hall is timber-frame constructed with straw insulation and forms a neighborhood hub in the heart of Bon Lait, an urban development area in the Lyonnais district of Gerland. The hall is available to both the primary and secondary schools as well as to local clubs and sports enthusiasts, and is a social meeting place for the locals throughout the week. The allocation plan consists of a triple gym for various ball sports and a training hall for martial arts, dance and gymnastics.
The surrounding area is very diversified and features a dense development of predominantly four- to five-story residential buildings with recessed attic levels. Dietrich | Untertrifaller Architekten and Tekhnê Architectes decided to work within this context towards a simple building shape that opens up to the square with an urban balcony ("loggia urbaine"). This form creates a connection between the public area and the interior of the hall, thus stimulating the interaction between indoors and outdoors. With a homogeneous shell of pre-grayed larch wood battens and generous glazing, the sports hall stands out boldly from the environment. Through its simplicity, it also emphasizes its function as a low-threshold, available-to-all communal infrastructure. The outer shape of the box – which at first sight is simple – is deceptive, however.
Inside the 9-meter-high hall with its 45 x 24-meter-wide playing field, the ceiling is characterized by wide-spanning laminated timber elements upon which truncated wooden pyramids evenly distribute the daylight that penetrates through the north-facing sheds throughout the room. The wall cladding made of wooden slats ensures good acoustics. The spectator stands, built as three-tiered concrete seating rows, and the interior access routes and adjoining rooms are arranged at the rear as the backbone of the building. The martial arts sports hall, which can also be used for dancing and gymnastics, is located on the upper floor. It is well-supplied with daylight via a window strip and an air space with a skylight.
The Bon Lait sports center impressively demonstrates how well timber architecture works in an urban context. The building deserves the title 'sustainable' – not least through its use of renewable resources such as wood and straw. Above all, it is an interplay between material, economic construction and building comfort that has been achieved here, with good daylight utilization, natural ventilation and aesthetically appealing surfaces.