House of Sports in Bezon by Engasser & associés

published in sb 2/2018

Green base

The sports centre combines a wide variety of elements from different briefs, i.e. already existent gyms, swimming pool and indoor tennis courts with new multi-purpose halls, a boxing gym, a bodybuilding gym, two dojos, a football pitch with stands, outdoor tennis courts and a clubhouse. The new building is located to the west of existing buildings. Engasser & associés unite the whole with an entrance hall acting as a bridge to all the facilities.

The new building is located in the extension to the park that occupies the north portion of the plot. Like an extension of this park, the ground floor is composed of an anti-graffiti glazed concrete façade doubled by a hedge of climbing plants, 50 cm thick at a height that corresponds to that of the entrance hall. This green base divides the building in two and lightens it. Composed of plants requiring little maintenance, it isn’t a plant wall but a hedge growing from the ground.

Hanging timber centre

The wooden centre stands on the green base, two constituent floors of the building (reception, offices and sports rooms) totally clad in timber. The façades are livened up by large timber spines that give rhythm to the cladding’s shadows and extra thickness. They are generously glassed on the two best orientations favourable for practicing sport, i.e. the north and northeast, allowing athletes to enjoy a bright, open atmosphere overlooking the park.

Bright reception area

With its generously glassed-in façade and roof, the central entrance hall admits natural light to the core of the sports centre. Being walk-through, it offers an uninterrupted view of the football pitch, and its double height (nearly 8 m) creates an immediate rapport with the bar on the first floor. The caretaker’s lodge, located near the entrance, and a wide reception desk in the hall make it possible to monitor the access points and to guide visitors.

On the ground floor the hall gives access to the bodybuilding room, toilets, offices and premises for sports associations. With the lift and central staircase, it links all the sports rooms located on the upper floors.

The reception, cafeteria and bar areas at the core of this atrium are organised directly with three briefs for the sale of beverages and snacks via a counter and three-directional glass partitions, towards the hall on the mezzanine, to the stands of the football pitch, and to the terrace, an extension of the swimming pool’s sun deck.

The stands are arranged so as to allow a wide, same-level platform with the bar, making it possible to watch matches with a panoramic view from inside.

Lighting conditions

Located on the first and second floors, the sports halls all enjoy north and north-east exposure for a homogenous, soft light. The dojos are lined with cushioned walls. The other halls are lined with head-high acoustic panels.

The halls are built with pre-poured concrete slabs providing the sports areas with handsome volumes without intervening pillars. The ceilings are offset, enabling the insertion of light fixtures and acoustic panels between the slabs. Each hall has two exits and areas for changing rooms and storage space.

Generous space in the annexes

The hallway leading to the sports halls is located on the façade side, giving rise to well-lit, friendly foot traffic and a panoramic view of the outdoor sports fixtures.

The bodybuilding gym has direct access to the entrance hall and is wide open to the outside. It has a glass wall onto a small patio created along the swimming pool façade by a hedge that reproduces the base principle of the sports centre. It forms a kind of landscape in front of the bodybuilding room.

The football pitch has been laid over a previous one, making it possible to conserve part of its original shape whilst enlarging it. It also made it possible to place the stands up against the building.

The roof over the stands is composed of a light frame supporting a metal cover with timber cladding on the underside. Although the stands’ 300-seat capacity abuts against the sports centre’s building, it is entirely independent in its use.

The running track has been located between the football pitch and the tennis courts, enabling the separation of the two areas and preferential access. Three new tennis courts have been placed at the end of the plot with the best possible sun exposure for play. The clubhouse is located near these new courts so as to create a tennis hub.