[L’image du jour] In Laval, this sports and entertainment hall plays on variations of concrete


December 31, 2021 edition

Since last October, it is a curvaceous multifunctional equipment which welcomes the inhabitants of Laval (Mayenne). Soberly called Espace Mayenne, this 15,000 square meter building includes a hall that can accommodate sporting and cultural events (from 2,000 to 4,500 seats depending on the configuration), a dedicated sports hall (1,900 seats) with a wall climbing area 16.5 meters high and 44 meters wide by international standards, a conference hall (300 seats) as well as three reception rooms. The 8.4 hectare site also houses a velodrome and a car park. A project worth 42 million euros, with careful environmental integration under the leadership of the Hérault Arnod Architectures agency, on a site occupied until 2011 by the Army.

Marshes, woodlands and a wet meadow were present on the site, and have not been modified. An old bocage frame made up of sculptural trees planted on merlons, as well as sunken lanes, were also to be preserved.


The large room is reversible, between sports and shows. Photo: Hérault Arnod

« To go in the direction of the economy of the ground and to optimize the coefficient of form, the building is a unit volume which envelops in the same movement the three rooms », explain the architects. It is therefore a building with undulations that was designed, following the shape of the land, with a large room in the shape of an inverted conch. For acoustic reasons, the space has been designed as a performance hall in which the practice of sport is possible.

White concrete in the spotlight

Cardinal Edifice, the building subsidiary of the NGE group, was responsible for the construction. White concrete facades « Plank finish », sinusoidal sails in architectonic white concrete, as well as curved grooved sails in white concrete to be able to provide materials dedicated to acoustics characterize the Espace Mayenne. Aluminum and wood were also used in the different rooms. The Belfort company (Territoire de Belfort) Albizzati Père et Fils built the velodrome from shotcrete.

The place, which can accommodate up to 7,500 people, is already recognized as a preparation center for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games for several disciplines (climbing, volleyball, handball).

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