BELLAVITI+COURSARIS – All Colours Philosophy

pubblicato su COMPASSES n16 “New Talents”_2012

di Giulia Mura


A roof that from flat becomes angular. A roof that lifts, drops, slopes and deforms. A roof made of a steel weave, realised through the torsions of 14×14 meter square modules, covered with grass.

A ‘furtive ‘ work of architecture o according to its designers Bellaviti+Coursaris o that unites the ‘natural universe ‘ tied to principles of horticulture with the ‘artificial universe ‘ that called for the construction of a multi-purpose sport hall, to be inserted within a vast plan for the urban regeneration of a district to the north of the city. Thus an important project of over 3,200 square meters, commissioned by the City of Lisieux (France) with a competition in 2007 that explicitly requested and eco-compatible building: hence the choice of the grass roof that is grafted onto the surrounding landscape, concealing a vast sports facility, defined by the primary colours so dear to Mondrian. A playful contrast that is most successful in the main fa├ºades, each different from the other, though similar in their search to inscribe regular and extruded forms beneath a freer horizontal surface, in turn treated as an autonomous ‘fifth fa├ºade ‘. The roof was thus designed with the same dignity accorded to the fa├ºades; in reality it becomes the fulcrum of the architectural composition. Another playful element is the material contrast between the parts: from transparent polycarbonate that filters northern light, to the coloured steel sheeting of the main volumes, to the chromed profiles of the roof and the stainless steel elements of the fa├ºades.

This consents the entire volume to be perfectly inserted with the landscape, comprised of a heterogeneous collection of single-family dwellings and public housing estates, but at the same time to be the bearer of an added value that is both aesthetic and social, enriching the entire context in which it is located. Not only because it provides the district with a new, well made and functional sports facility, but also because with the vast open spaces that surround the building it creates a landscaped space open to anyone and offers the city an important area for recreational and social activities.

Exactly like the roof, the paving follows the geometric design of the 14-meter vegetal modules that, seen from above, create a checkerboard that is pleasingly in continuity with its surroundings. Situated on a sloping site, the multi-functional sports centre functions as a perspectival telescope between the hall to the west and the stands: ‘Spectators and players, suspended between two horizons, will have the sensation of living in the heart of the hill ‘. Subdivided on three floors, the interiors are defined by precise paths: at grade the reception space, offices and change rooms for athletes; on the first floor the playing field and accessory services; and, on the upper level a clubhouse (which can be transformed into a meeting room or dance hall) for 100 people.

This consents flows to be differentiated by typology, without any interference between athletes, administration and the occasional public.

It is a project that generates consensus, because it was studied in all of its diverse functional requirements, prior to examining its morphological elements. It follows no particular style and no preconstituted formal language, but rather attempts first and foremost an integration with its site and a strongly ecological approach. Lightweight and full of enthusiasm.

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