Looking for a simple yet gorgeous example of natural daylighting? Look no further than the recently completed Monconseil Sports Hall in Tours, France. Located just 150 km southwest of Paris, the multi-purpose gymnasium places strong emphasis on natural lighting as well as natural materials and renewable energy. The gym was designed by Paris-based Explorations Architecture and features a photovoltaic brise-soleil on the south side and north facade made entirely of glass.
The long building serves as a venue for sports that include like basketball, handball, volleyball and gymnastics and has seating for up to 700 people. There is also space for locker rooms, offices, bathrooms and multi-purpose rooms. The volume is characterized by a large glass facade and a timber clad roof that sags dramatically in the middle. The composite suspended timber/steel roof spans close to 50m and remains flexible in the event the building is used for other purposes in the future. With a striking profile, the Monconseil Sports Hall makes a statement that’s hard to ignore – especially at night.
Monconseil Sports Hall is an example of Explorations Architecture’s approach to sustainable design and places emphases on the use of natural light and an innovative use of natural materials and renewable energy. The building’s entire north facade is clad in glass, which allows the gym to be completely bathed in natural daylight during the day time. Composite materials along with steel are used for the structural supports, while the roof and the sides are clad in a timber rain screen which minimizes heat gain and encourages natural ventilation. Finally, the south facade is covered in a brise-soleil made with photovoltaic panels, which absorb the sun’s energy and converts it into electricity for use within the building. Work began on the 2,700 sq meter facility in 2006 and was completed in 2011.
Images ©Michel Denancé