Le Forum

In this multifunctional building for sports and events, Manuelle Gautrand links to each other distinct volumes and their functions, under a scenographic metallic shell.

The Forum designed by Manuelle Gautrand Architecture replaces an old “Palais des fêtes” and is located in Saint-Louis, in the “Three Borders” region and in the inner suburb of Basel. The structure is a cultural facility designed to host associative, sporting and cultural events.
Manuelle Gautrand Architecture, Le Forum
Manuelle Gautrand Architecture, Le Forum sports, associative and events facility, Saint-Louis, France. Photo: Guillaume Guerin
The project is then made of several distinct volumes, linked up to one another in a way the smaller volumes are placed at the edge of the individual houses, and the more imposing ones – the Festival Hall and the Great Hall – placed at the center. At the end there are 13 volumes connected to each other gathered at the center of the site. They all fit in a unique writing because they are all covered with the same principles of forms, materials and openings. The roof of each volume is then systematically made
 of two slopes, inspired by the design of the roofs you can observe in the surroundings, alternating the orientation of the folded faces sometimes North-South, sometimes South-West, in order to capture a light each time different. The expanded metal (©Métal Déployé), used as a cladding on all the facades, also contributes to this unity, and gives the project its character.
Manuelle Gautrand Architecture, Le Forum sports
Manuelle Gautrand Architecture, Le Forum sports, associative and events facility, Saint-Louis, France. Photo: Guillaume Guerin

Thanks to its flexible design, the 1.870 sqm wide and 13 meters high Great Hall, hosts various functions: first it is dedicated to sport practice – namely basketball, handball, mini-handball, badminton, judo, and gymnastics – with a special eye to schoolchildren and sportive competitions. It also host concerts and shows, with a gauge of maximum 2400, together with exhibitions and fairs.

The Festival Hall covers an area of 872 sqm, and is also dedicated to shows, associative events, weddings, fairs and exhibitions. Right next to it there is a kitchen which allows the organization of banquets, with a gauge that can rise to 900 persons. The architect looked for extending the outdoor ambiances into the indoor spaces, allowing the visitors to discover the coppered-metal facades, and when they enter the welcoming hall, they find the long bar covered with the same large expanded metal panels.
 The length of this bar, more than 14 meters, gives it a central, welcoming role.

Manuelle Gautrand Architecture, Le Forum
Manuelle Gautrand Architecture, Le Forum, view of the entrance bar, Saint-Louis, France. Photo: Guillaume Guerin
The project is actually made of two envelopes with complementary functions:
 a first structural envelope constitutes the core and shell, guaranteeing thermal and acoustic insulations. It is made alternatively of reinforced concrete walls, or of a light metallic set. Over this envelope, a second skin is wrapped, made of large expanded metal panels, mounted on a very simple steel frame and relatively repetitive. Their mounting over the core and shell volume creates a wide plenum. This plenum, protected by the big uniting envelope that really embraces all the faces of the building, answers two technical issues. First of all, it masks the numerous and large-sized technical equipment that have been installed on the roofs. In second place, it provides thermal protection during summer, with protective shadows and natural ventilation, allowing to minimize the use of air conditioning.
Manuelle Gautrand Architecture, Le Forum
Manuelle Gautrand Architecture, Le Forum, Great Hall, Saint-Louis, France. Photo: Guillaume Guerin
The project’s indoor materials are simple but rustic and strong: large fibracoustic panels on the walls for the sound absorption, orange sports flooring in the Great Hall, bamboo parquet floor in the Festival Hall, some nice Tom Dixon’s coppered lights, and the last but not least Vitra furniture (whose headquarters are located at less than 20 kilometers of Saint-Louis) with a beautiful set of Eames stackable chairs, which allow to host all the banquets and associative events.

Le Forum, Saint-Louis, Switzerland
Program: renovation of cultural and sporting spaces
Architects: Manuelle Gautrand Architecture, Manuelle Gautrand (principal architect), Cécile Ortolo (project manager)
Client: City of Saint-Louis
Project management: S.E.R.S
Structural engineering: AIC
Fluids engineering: Alto
Quantity seveyor: Cholley
Acoustics: JP Lamoureux
Fire safety: CSD-Faces
Roads and networks engineering: OTCI
Main contractors: Pontiggia (roads and networks), Urba-Doumez (structural work, concrete), Cabrol (steel frame, cladding)
Area: 5,713 sqm
Completion: 2016

Latest on Architecture

Latest on Domus

Read more
China Germany India Mexico, Central America and Caribbean Sri Lanka Korea icon-camera close icon-comments icon-down-sm icon-download icon-facebook icon-heart icon-heart icon-next-sm icon-next icon-pinterest icon-play icon-plus icon-prev-sm icon-prev Search icon-twitter icon-views icon-instagram