In 2005, the Communauté d’Agglomération de Mantes-en-Yvelines launched an international tender for the design and construction of a water sports centre in the Quartier des Peintres, just north of the Val Fourré housing estate. The establishment of a leisure facility in this area, outside the town centre and somewhat isolated, was in itself a bold political statement, intended to provide a breath of fresh air for local residents.
The chosen site for the water sports centre was on a natural headland, with superb views overlooking the Vexin hills on the other side of the river Seine. Our proposal aimed to open up the viewpoint from the Quartier des Peintres to overlook the natural world and waterway beyond, using a style of architecture hinging on transparency and gradations, setting up a series of optical filters between the solid, functional nature of the city and the peaceful rolling hills of the countryside. The building’s architectural design embodies this gentle transition: the planted roof echoes the hillsides of Vexin, while the curves of the giant lattice structure, protecting the glass front on the city-facing side, evoke waves in the water, along with the undulations of the roof. These waves also serve a functional purpose, acting as a symbolic marker of the borders between the successive worlds the users pass through as they leave the city behind to become immersed in the waters and the rolling hills of Vexin.
Generating significant media attention and highlighted by the NAJA (Nouveaux Albums de la Jeune Architecture, awarded by the French Ministry of Culture), this water sports centre stands as our coming-of-age masterpiece. It allowed us to implement all the approaches and methods that we had built up over the course of our previous experiences, including during our formative “world tour”. Designed as a landscape, combining aesthetic audacity and striving constantly for functionality, this water sports centre constitutes an architectural keystone in terms of our vision and ways of working.
We were also responsible for the project planning and construction oversight, which brought us a wealth of new experience: in addition to architectural quality, our thorough planning and dialogue with the various construction teams were also key factors in ensuring the success of the finished project.
Client : Communauté d'Agglomération de Mantes-en-Yvelines
Project : Construction of a watersports center
Site : Val-Fourré, Mantes-la-Jolie (78), France
Status : Completed in 2011
Size : 10 000 m²
Team : Dubuisson Architecture (Lead Architect), Setec Bâtiment (Structure, MEP, HVAC, Water treatment, Fire Safety, Sustainability), VS-A (Facade), BMF (Cost Consultant), Acte 2 Paysage (Landscape), Peutz & Associés (Acoustics), Étienne Auger (Signage)
Awards : Honourable mention at the Architizer A+ Awards