Compiled by Team IAnD
Photography: Courtesy DVVD Architects
Read Time:3 mins
Modernized, expanded, upgraded to 21st-century standards, and above all delivered to the public in record time, the new AccorHotels Arena stands out as one of the strong points in Paris’ candidature as host of the summer Olympics 2024.
Renamed as the AccorHotels Arena, the technical, functional and safety-related redevelopment scheme ascribes to sensitivity in architecture as it influences the urban fabric by opening up the important cultural arena to the street, forging a direct connect with Parisians as a venue to relax and breathe easy; as much as to be entertained.
The concourse on the Rue de Bercy, slightly set back from the highway, defines the frontal boundary of a new public space that is anointed with freely accessible, inclined roof spaces connect to Parc de Bercy, inviting the layman to mingle, walk or generally relax.
Sloping roof outlines reflect on the interior of the reception space, reinforced by false ceilings of timber lath construction, the horizontal structure of which emphasizes the lines of force generated by the enclosed space. The concourse is bathed in light, thanks to the glazed canopies which reinterpret the layout of the metal web structure and, in places, frame astonishing views of the sky and the sloping lawns, which can also be seen from the stairways and escalators leading to the new gallery.
Catering to the entertainment quotient, fourteen themed bars dot the edifice. Here, as in the concourse, the tonality and ambiance of the premises are delivered by materials: the mineral quality of concrete, the warmth of timber, and the brilliance of copper and gold. A sculptural structure in the form of a glass canopy highlights the VIP entrance on the Boulevard de Bercy.
On the interior, new reception areas, constructed of timber, structural steelwork and glass, as if to mark the boundary with the existing structure of lawns and concrete, provide spaces for meeting and conversation, as well as a clear view through to the concert hall. Balconies, cantilevered on existing structures increase audience capacity from 17,000 to 20,300 seats; while retractable terraces ensure optimum modularity, catering to an additional 4 to 5 thousand seats. Visibility is improved through the redesigned geometry of the arena and its seating, lighting and acoustics that are analyzed in detail, with the selection of high-performance materials, including new seats comprised of an absorbent shell, which maintains a consistent sound quality, even when unoccupied.
A thoroughly planned schedule with an extremely precise sequencing of phases, where design analyses are completed to an extreme degree of detail, in order to avoid any change in design in the course of works endorses the arena with the HQE environmental certification in the operational phase. The glazed canopies, for example, after structural reinforcement, are refitted with high-performance double glazing; and the lawns are thermally insulated for the elimination of energy losses.
All-in-all, the redefined arena now ranks among the three leading multi-purpose sports arenas in the world, whether in terms of performances, hospitality, functional capabilities or facilities.