Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Multi-purpose building in Paris, France by SCAPE
December 3rd, 2014 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: SCAPE
The building, measuring 3,800m2, designed by the architectural studio SCAPE, is located at the southern end of ZAC (urban development zone) at Porte des Lilas, and has among its main objectives that of transforming the relationship between the city of Paris within the Boulevard Périphérique and the districts on the outside.
The building includes:
The building is situated in a sector between the districts of Les Lilas and Bagnolet that is undergoing intensive reconstruction; it is adapted both to suit the green spaces of the Fougères area and the organisation for sports and public. This sector is mainly made up of public spaces that border the Périphérique: a large park to the north, Place del Marquis du Vercors in the axis of Avenue della Porte des Lilas, and the large square with the cinema and circus to the south. Following the imminent reorganisation of rue Paul-Meurice and rue du Docteur-Gley, a larger area will be granted to pedestrians and non-motorized traffic, planted with lines of trees and large areas of garden.
Three construction elements defined by the character of the urban site
The site, in the middle of an area currently going through a transformation, provides the architects with a free space above the slab built over the Périphérique, as well as an area for construction: the project makes the most of what the site has to offer and develops in three main directions.
Three programmes of interaction and autonomy integrated in a dynamic system
The building, which looks compact when seen from the outside, houses a dynamic system within: here the architects have designed a rich and varied visual apparatus, which respects the requirements and the particular necessities for the implementation of each activity.
With regard to the three structures, the architects have designed a very simple system of signs that will guide the users to the main zones of activity: the directions are shown on large coloured panels, with different colours for each zone. The choice of colour has been made to match the materials used in the floor of the area concerned: resin (for the corridors and common parts), PVC floors (for the gym, offices and multi-purpose halls) and parquet (for the music and dance rooms). The emphasis is on simple materials destined for intense use and which are efficient in terms of comfort and acoustics.
The Sports Centre
The entrance hall is in transparent glass, and stands as a permeable diaphragm between the public space and the sports hall; the flows of people organise themselves from this large luminous space:
The gym is at the heart of the project: with its large empty volume it creates a link between the sports grounds and the slab garden and the large entrance hall and climbing wall, which open with vast glass walls onto the gym. Its underground location is essential for the general organisation of the project.
The climbing wall, organized for use at every level, is double height, reaching 9 metres high. It opens onto rue Paul-Meurice and is visible from the common parts on the first floor and connected to the gym. It receives natural light from street level and by a glass wall placed high up, so as to create the sensation of a lift towards the sky.
Finally, the first floor is the level that introduces physical continuity with the other sports activities: the multi-purpose hall, dedicated both to martial arts and to dance, the sports terrain, located on the roof of the gym, and the sports areas that are located on the slab over the Périphérique. Each of these activity spaces has its dedicated changing rooms and service areas. The offices for management of the Centre are also found on this level: the director’s office, meeting room, staff rooms and the infirmary.
The Youth Space
The Centre for Psycho-Pedagogical Learning
The Centre for psycho-pedagogical learning is designed to welcome children and adolescents and is located on the corner of rue Paul-Meurice and rue Léon-Frapié, on the first floor. An open stairway with zenithal lighting leads to the waiting room, decorated as a convivial space, from which the kids can make their way to the re-education rooms and the two psychomotor learning rooms, situated in the western part of the building and looking onto the green spaces above the Périphérique.
A project that belongs to a firm logic of sustainable development
From the very first, this project has been designed to respond to the ever more exacting requirements of the Commune of Paris as regards sustainable development, understood in the broadest sense of the term.
The architects have consolidated the “building mass” and freed up space on the slab covering the Périphérique and between the buildings. The guiding principle from a morphological point of view is that of a compact system: the Sports Centre, Youth Space and Centre of Psycho-Pedagogical Learning are all pure volumes. The Sports Centre is located partly underground in order to limit the exposed area and maximize inactivity. To mitigate the density of building, they have created green areas, constituting breathing spaces. Despite the limited space available due to the numerous restrictions on the lot, the various elements have been successfully located so as to exploit the daylight and natural ventilation as much as possible. In the same manner, great care was taken when spacing the buildings one from another so as to guarantee the maximum amount of light and vegetation between them.
To satisfy the energy performance required by the City of Paris (consumption of 50kWh/m²), the system has been completed with a series of technical expedients: external insulation, high performance glass, a Power-pipe© water recycling system (which is highly relevant in a building with such uses) and a roof area of approximately 300 m2 devoted of photovoltaic panels.
SCA PE is an Italian architecture firm with offices in Rome and Paris that has made Internationalisation its main strength.
Conceived as an idea in May 2002 by Ludovica Di Falco, Francesco Marinelli and Paolo Mezzalama, the firm SCAPE s.p.a. was concretely established in 2004. Alessandro Cambi joined as fourth partner in 2005. Since opening, SCAPE has oriented itself towards both Italian and foreign markets, taking part in numerous architectural competitions in Europe and often beyond the confines of the European Community. The first point of arrival for the company’s strategy of openness was setting up an office in Paris in 2008 and the foundation of a French architecture firm, OffSCAPE s.a.s., in 2013. Today SCAPE works mainly in Italy, France and Switzerland and is organising itself to engage with new markets in a consolidated manner.
The word SCAPE refers to a broad notion of landSCAPE, a point of view ranging from the near prospect as far as the horizon. The basis of SCAPE’s mission is the determination to retrieve the twentieth century Italian tradition of architecture and engineering; to return to a type of project design that respects formal research, maintains a dialogue with history, is aware of technical and constructional aspects and of context. Research that encompasses different scales and involves, as the name indicates, the various meanings of panorama: from landSCAPE to citySCAPE.
To achieve its objectives SCAPE is fitted out with, on the one hand the most sophisticated digital tools, indispensible to compete on a global scale and, on the other a mode of organisation that favours on-site presence and working with local firms: medium size concerns that are therefore well-established in the context. The firm’s techno-digital efficiency is mainly manifested by the adoption, four years ago, of the BIM philosophy (Building Information Modelling): it stands as SCAPE’s affirmation of its desire to bring construction back to the centre of the design process.
Over recent years SCAPE has distinguished itself in numerous national and international competitions and has participated in an equally large number of shows and exhibitions.