Eric Arsenault Architecture

01 clamecy gymnase


  • Localisation : Clamecy (58)
  • Program : sports hall 24 x 44m, free height 7m, climbing wall, gym hall, changing rooms, washrooms, storage area, maintenance spaces, HQE norm
  • Project type : new build
  • Surface : 1 600 m2
  • Cost : 2 060 000 € excl. VAT
  • Client : Conseil Général de la Nièvre
  • Work duration : 20 months
  • Delivered: 2008
  • Photos : Christophe Deschanel

Urban stake

The gymnasium is located along the Route d’Armes, parallel to the road. It marks at this point the entry to Clamecy. It is as much an urban building as a school one. Here, we take advantage of the construction of a school building to structure the public space : the site choice was part of the contest [1].

New definition of the entrance to the secondary school

The building also enables to reclassify the entrance to the secondary school which was far from optimized, and consisted of a row of cypresses hiding the school buildings.

By its size, the gym marks the presence of the school and proposes a new entrance with an open square, welcoming students and providing an overview of the education buildings and restaurant below.

At the geographical heart of users

Thus placed at the entrance of the secondary school (rather than downwards near the school restaurant) the gym is accessible by and visible to the majority of visitors: secondary school but also high school, associations and the town of Clamecy. In the future, after the redevelopment of the buses car park by the city, a direct access from the plaza from the north main entrance is planned.

Architectural decisions

It is a wooden implantation on a cast concrete base, parallel to the road. It is located close to the level of the road to establish a visual and physical link to the public space in which it is included.

The building is part of a constructive logic of wooden buildings, requested by the town of Clamecy (city of timber raftsmen and close to the Morvan), and more broadly by the timber industry in the Bourgogne Region. It also pursues the architectural style applied to the restaurant and the future day school (Benoît Crépet, architect).

The wood cladding is made of douglas wood (locally grown), which will age slowly on the northern side (public space), and is protected by trees and sunbreakers on the southern wall.

The building was designed to maximize the capture and distribution of natural light:

  • To the north, on the road side, a succession of four large vertical skylights 11m x 5m dominate the building, giving light to the gym and marking it in the public space.
  • To the south, processed horizontally, the façade has large sunscreens that protect the building from the sun. A large bow window corresponding to the gym juts from the building to overlook the park view. The sunbreakers come as huge Venetian blinds and provide a warm atmosphere to this room.

From a functional standpoint the gym offers two independent entrances :

  • Access to the bottom from the secondary school to go directly to the heart of the gym.
  • Access from above, allowing outside users to access the gym as independently as possible, without entering the precincts of the school.

This helps regulate and thus easily control the various users of the gym. Both entrances are connected physically and visually to the lobby by a staircase.

The roof of the gymnasium in steel sheets (zinc color) is built at the same height regardless of shelter space. This gives continuity to the whole (by avoiding the classic break gym / locker room) and reinforces the volumes on the public space.

Above the locker room and gym, this also creates a high enough technical room (see section) to accommodate all the facilities such as air filtering, and solar hot water. This plenum space, located between the ceiling and roof, naturally ventilated and shaded, gives a very good thermal comfort over the spaces served.

The sound has also been particularly taken care of in this gym:

  • The low temperature underfloor heating plays a part in the silence of the sports areas.
  • The ceiling panels in perforated steel or textile have acoustic properties.
  • The side walls, clad in strips of wood and acoustic felt, are sound traps.

Finally, the gym takes advantage of the slope on which it is established to generate a void services space to easily access under the building and maintain the networks (water, ventilation, electricity).

[1All public buildings of a certain size are subject to a competition and public projects on this site were winners of a contest