Arranged over three levels, the building comprises two opaque volumes at lower ground and upper level that sandwich a porous mid level space that serves as entry.
The lower ground level accommodates the martial arts and dance studio. The 47 by 24 metre sports hall is located on the upper level inorder to take advantage of even natural daylighting via a series of north facing sculpted roof lights. At entry level, there is an expansive terrace along the whole length of the eastern facade that faces railyards.
With the use of natural daylight, natural ventilation and photovoltaic panels the centre requires minimum energy use and incorporates many renewable materials.
It will set the benchmark for a new environmental certification for sports centres in France.
The new built sports centre forms part of the ZAC Pajol Masterplan in the 18th Arrondissment of Paris. When complete in 2012, it will be the first fully sustainable development in Paris. The brownfield site, consists of new and refurbished buildings.
A 1920’s customs depot will be converted into a youth hostel, concert venue, and covered garden. Two disused postal sorting buildings from the same period have already been converted into a secondary school for 600 students and a college. Along with the sport centre, a free standing 5000m2 enterprise zone is the other new building. The project will have over 9000m2 of open spaces. The masterplan site is flanked on three sides by an incongruous mixture of factories, workshops, and Haussmannian housing buildings. To the east, it borders vast open rail yards that feed Gare de Est.
As the architects of the sports centre, the project has presents the opportunity contribute to the essential amenities of urban life through the open nature of the ground condition and by creating interstitial spaces that are somewhere between the private and public.
This is a bold and commendable project by the city of Paris. The project is totally funded by the state in an area well off the beaten architectural path of the capitol.
The 18th Arrondissement officially came into existence on 1 January 1860. It is one of the largest Arrondisments in the French capital comprising 600 hectares. The 18th is mostly known for hosting the district of Montmartre, which contains a hill dominated by the Sacré Coeur basilica, as well as the famous Moulin Rouge. It consists of 8 neighbourhoods including: Grandes Carrières”, “Clignancourt”, the African and North African La Goutte d’Or is famous for its market, the marché Barbès, and La Chapelle, were Pajol is located. The immediate area of the project is also known as ‘Little Jaffna’ a distric in Sri Lanka.
In 2011 there were 197 173 habitants or 32 807 habitants per Km2 it is the third most populated quartier in Paris behind the 15th & the 20th 54 % of people under 18 are of foreign origin of these, 37% are from subsahra, Turkey, or North African.
Up to now the Pajol area has resisted boboïsation – rabid gentrification – that’s happened in other parts of the 18th but it is nonetheless attracting attention. Elaine Sciolino writing for the New York Times finds:
The neighbourhood is rough-edged, working class and very authentic. If you come, check your map and plot a walking route in advance. When you emerge from the Chapelle Metro, you don’t want to look like you’re lost. Or like a tourist. The area is more adventurous than dangerous, but still it’s not Saint-Germain-des-Pres. You will, however, always find someone who speaks more English than French.
+ Project facts
Project: Pajol Sports Centre
Architect: Brisac Gonzalez Architects | http://www.brisacgonzalez.com/
Client: City of Paris
Summary: Sports Centre comprising martial arts studios, fitness facilities and a youth centre
Project value: £ 6 500 000
Date: Completion 2011
Area: 4,060 sqm