Sports Center Alice Milliat / ZAC Bon Lait, Lyon
This multi-use gymnasium is a central element of the new urban development zone of Bon Lait. It is mainly constructed with a wooden framework with hay bale insulation, and it marks the end of significant changes to this neighborhood. It welcomes primary and secondary school pupils from nearby educational establishments, as well as sports clubs and amateur sportsmen and women. Its volume contains a hall which can be divided into three, thus allowing different sports to be carried on at the same time. There is also a space for training in combat sports, dance, and gymnastics. Roof openings give a generous amount of natural zenithal light.
Large bay windows pierce the facade of this wooden monolith.The simple envelope of battens in pre-darkened larch makes it stand out from the surrounding buildings. In a densely built mixed environment, it opens onto the square through a loggia which links it with the public space and stimulates interaction between interior and exterior.
With a homogeneous shell of pre-grayed larch wood battens and generous glazing, the sports hall stands out boldly from the environment. Through its simplicity, it also emphasizes its function as a low-threshold, available-to-all communal infrastructure. The outer shape of the box – which at first sight is simple – is deceptive, however. Inside the 9-meter-high hall with its 45 x 24-meter-wide playing field, the ceiling is characterized by wide-spanning laminated timber elements upon which truncated wooden pyramids evenly distribute the daylight that penetrates through the sheds. The wall cladding made of wooden slats ensures good acoustics. The spectator stands, built as three-tiered concrete seating rows, and the interior access routes and adjoining rooms are arranged at the rear as the backbone of the building. The martial arts sports hall, which can also be used for dancing and gymnastics, is located on the upper floor. It is well-supplied with daylight via a window strip and an air space with a skylight.
The Bon Lait sports hall impressively demonstrates how well timber architecture works in an urban context. The building deserves the title ‘sustainable’ – not least through its use of renewable resources such as wood and straw. Above all, it is an interplay between material, economic construction and building comfort that has been achieved here, with good daylight utilization, natural ventilation and aesthetically appealing surfaces.