Photography: Thomas Jorion
Location: Ville d’Antony, Paris, France
Antony’s design and planning focus on a thorough understanding of the local context. The building responds to existing scales. Its location and architecture dentote the space´s public nature and inject new life into the site. By taking surrounding public spaces into consideration when designing the project, Archi5 reinforced the notion that this building is a public facility, a landmark within the surrounding disorder.
So as to allude to a mind’s eye view Archi5 asked themselves how they could draw attention to the building without stirring up too much controversy. What Archi5 sought to spark off was people’s curiosity and a thirst for mystery: a child’s fascination to know what is inside a big box. This is what led them to design this huge, sombre monolith, which is a break from local architecture, with rows of pink houses or over complex public buildings.
A mysterious big black box planted in an urban landscape. Curiosity is satisfied once the way to go in is found, on a raised corner where the entrance is located. The architects wanted the passer-by to see something different to what the residents see. They achieved this by an interplay between different elements, the roof garden offering an alternative landscape – a hanging square.
On the inside, the surfaces adapt and follow the height of the different sports areas. This creates a dynamic between the different components of the project.
The monolith is deconstructed by the variety of stones used to clad the façade and the way these are pieced together, like a construction set. The building changes depending on the angle from which you look at it, the time of day, the light or the season.
This single structure houses the main functions of the programme: fencing/table tennis hall, dance hall, combat areas and other activities. The building’s compact nature is its greatest environmental asset. Natural light floods in, in spite of the solid façades. Vertical window panels allow light to be controlled and adapted to the needs of the sport being practiced. The architects designed this facility to be simple, powerful and almost timeless.