Stadiums Nanterre

To the west of Paris, beyond the La Défense financial district, the city of Nanterre has been making a concerted effort to redevelop its abandoned industrial properties. Bordered on all sides by a prison, an electrical plant and a highway, every-thing would seem to indicate a poor future for this former industrial flood plain, except that it is at this point, near the highway overpass, that a connection could best be made between the city and the Seine. The low-dens-ity occupation of the surrounding area necessitated a large-scale organisation of the site as a whole. The project consists of two lines that delineate the landscape and incorporate the various programs. In the axis of the overpass, a walkway raised on top of an earth berm cuts along the edge of the site, attenuating the impact of the prison walls and offering a direct path to the Seine. The two grandstands are set into its slope and the locker rooms and service spaces are located beneath. A second line takes the form of an animated palisade that projects perpendicular to the base of the first and extends along the route of the highway. It forms an enclosure for the bow and arrow range as well as the custodian’s living quarters and storage space. In a counterpoint to the harshness of the site, Douglas pine provides a warm unifying constructive identity to the project. The palisade is clad with a traditional system of vertical struts, backed by boards when inter-ior enclosure is necessary, and left open to form a screen around the bow-and-arrow range. More structurally complex, the grandstand roofs are made up of a string of butterfly frames, hung out on a series of wooden masts and tied back by a succession of galvanised steel columns. Clad with clear polycarbonate, their regular bows form a luminous and perennial canopy.