Eric Arsenault Architecture

01 Gymnasium


  • Localisation : Charolles (71)
  • Program : gymnasium, danse hall, work out room, changing rooms, washrooms, office, storage room, outdoor area
  • Project type : new build
  • Surface : 1 792 m2
  • Cost : 2 529 000 € excl. VAT
  • Client : Conseil Régional de Bourgogne
  • Delivered: competition 2015
  • Photos : Julien Bruno-Mattiet
An urban cause

On a long L shape plot, the gym is offered to the public area, in full view of the Eglantines street. The west façade of the project (dance halls and work out) indulges the eyes of passersby. A tree-lined driveway leads to the entrance, signaled by a canopy and a vertical opening on the main gym sports hall. All these signals are visible from the street and participate towards its ebullience. They claim the gym as a structuring element of the neighbourhood.

Moreover, during the research phase, we investigated a plot to the east of the gymnasium belonging to the city of Charolles. This plot adjoining the gymnasium and featuring a beautiful wooded area could easily have been converted into a small square offering the Witmer high school pupils an interesting shortcut. This arrangement would also have allowed to release completely (without right of way) the south side of the plot in order to detach it for another operation. This option was proposed during the competition.

A semi-underground project

The great hall is built on a partially buried foundation on the east side, at the back of the plot, which emerges to the west with the dance and fitness rooms. This configuration offers two advantages: a significant thermal inertia of underground sections and a discreet visual impact with an overall volume relatively low, suitable for the surrounding built environment.

Internal functionality

Inside the circulation area is optimized and compact: the small access hall leads to a short central space that puts all the areas in visual and physical relationship, sports halls at each end and cloakrooms in between.

Quality of use

The gymnasium great hall is large and bright: the two long sides (north and south) are sided with 4,50m high polycarbonate panels , with sun-breakers on the south side. Audio is also treated by a perforated plasterboard ceiling and vertical walls covered with 3m high wooden slats.

Materials: concrete, wood and polycarbonate

CONCRETE walls are made of precast concrete, light beige-coloured with integrated insulation (Prémur).This type of facing enhances the expressiveness of the building and ages without maintenance.

WOOD is used in all three rooms with a specific treatment for each orientation to the sun:

  • absolute protection of it for the NNW side (bad-weather orientation) with polycarbonate panels over the wood frame that remains protected inside the building,
  • outdoor use of it in SSE front (weather-protected) where the frame is used to support sunscreens, which protect the interior from overheating or dazzling,
  • implementation of an external wooden screen wall (close vertical posts) for shading the WSW facade of the dance and work out halls.

All the wooden elements section width is strong in order to ensure lasting without deformation over time. Aging is made uniform by the lack of overhanging elements (no shade).

POLYCARBONATE: with the generous use of it on the two major sides, the amount of natural light is qualitatively close to an outdoor space.