The site, remarkable for its position on the eastern edge of the town of Puy Guillaume, is characterized by a space largely open to the Forez mountains and the surrounding countryside. A rural landscape, banal and remarkable at the same time, where the qualities of a hilly horizon mingle with the poor and ordinary constructions of the outskirts of the town.
The project plot is occupied by a car park bordering the rugby pitch, municipal workshops and a car garage. An ambiguous situation for a building which ultimately turns out to be the most voluminous of this constructed complex.
The project excludes any form of brutality or rupture on the context by favoring a relationship of complicity with the existing. It establishes its location and its geometry in relation to the clearest and most tangible form and space of the site, the rugby pitch, and finds its expression through a material and formal familiarity with the adjoining buildings.
The project seeks both a connection with the great landscape as well as an urban relationship with the town center and the tertiary, sports and technical buildings already present. By its scale, its recognizable “iconic” shape and its location on the back line of the rugby field, it marks a strong and singular presence on the scale of its program. It fully assumes its character as a public facility without being monumental but generously opening its spaces to the outside.
Placed in the upper part of the ground, the sports and cultural hall enjoys an overhanging view of the entire site. It also forms a backdrop that partially obscures the technical services buildings and recomposes a decor refocused on sports activities.
The building, beyond its own functionality as a sports hall, has the ambition to highlight this landscaped site of interest on the edge of the town, and to reinforce the uses already present. The peripheral path to the rugby field naturally structures and organizes the routes and spaces of the site. We imagine the place on a match day, a time when the crowd is the strongest: The implementation of the project reinforces this existing structure and seeks to clearly materialize this organization. It is by a covered and public gallery in extension of the sports hall that the building clings to the existing. This gallery protects the west facade and defines a friendly public space facing the rugby pitch. The convivial space located at the South-West corner occasionally opens onto the gallery via an outdoor refreshment bar in order to bring added value to the uses already in place on the site.
We want the building, instead of being an isolated architectural object, to be a real vector of urbanity and encounter for users and the public. The gallery is one of the devices that allows this. The second benefit of this space is for the sports hall. The slenderness of the corbelled structure over the entire length of the facade creates a generous cover protecting the sports hall from the western light while maintaining total transparency and continuity with the outside.
The volume of the construction, in the form of a «hat» in a wooden frame clad in a metal skin, is the formal expression of the organization of uses: The large hall and the stands are contained in a single volume at the optimized dimensions of 7m under structure. The other adjoining spaces that do not require great height are organized around the periphery of the room. A high volume for major spaces, a low volume for secondary spaces. The latter are covered with roofs which give a human scale to the uses and allow a smooth transition between the differentiated spaces of the program. The outdoor gallery belongs to these spaces under the roofs. It benefits from a strategic position facing the rugby pitch to the west and forms a thickness between the interior and the exterior.
The project, wishing to integrate as well as possible in this territory, also wants to be a vector of construction sectors and local know-how, especially of the wood sector of the territories of the «massif central», thus obtaining the BTMC label. The project strives, through the choice of a wooden structure and its general volumetry, to offer an interior space characterized by the use of raw and resistant materials. The design of the structure contributes to the “rustic” quality of the interior space. The mastery of light in the large room is controlled, guaranteeing optimal comfort for the practice of sport. It is naturally lit and has an unobstructed view of the outside, both to provide views of the rugby pitch and the landscape beyond, but also to show its activities from outside.