• Programme : Renovation and extension to a school sporting facility
  • Location : Gymnase La Source, Versailles, 78.
  • 2, rue Saint-Nicolas.
  • Calendar : Competition won : 2008 / Completed : May 2014.
  • Client : Ville de Versailles.
  • Architecture team : Hamonic+Masson & Associés.
  • Photographer : Luc Boegly + JC Masson.
  • Cost : 850 000 € HT.
  • Surface : 600 m².

La Source gymnasium, Versailles

Wow! Wood! We thought that it was well suited to this exercise. We could wind it around the existing, fairly unimpressive-looking facility, strip away all the dross and turn the periphery into an unlikely ramp connecting the bottom (the the gymnasium entrance) to the top (the school playground). This project is a bit like ivy. Inside? Outside? You’re not really sure where you are. You walk up along the side of the facilities, the openings become portholes, the external arcade becomes a tunnel, and you come out through the roof. This serpentine regenerates the existing building by flipping it inside out, a bit like a glove. As well as including a fun adventure playground, the scheme also tackles a few unresolved issues, the main - but not the only - one being accessibility. It also plays its part in urban regeneration, because the different parts of the project complement their neighbours : the gymnasium entrance hall, the path between the handball pitch and the gymnasium, the boundary of the car park and the rue Saint Nicolas. It unifies and gives meaning to the area. The project’s small in size but not in ambition. It just goes to show that there’s no such thing as a small project. Rehabilitation will be The topic in the coming years. Additions, light touches and touching up are powerful means of transforming urban space. Adapting to existing elements requires a fair amount of strategic thinking.