The new handball arena was a collaboration between Auer Weber, in Munich, and Christophe Gulizzi, in Le Tholonet. The lead firm was the building company Fayat, the client the SPLA Pays d’Aix Territoires, the conurbation authority of the Pays d’Aix, France.
The arena is situated on a freeway intersection in the south-west of Aix-en-Provence. The façade is made up of metallic ellipses stacked like layered contours. At first sight, the arena has no front or back – since every side of the façade is treated equally. Only the differently arranged ellipses indicate the front of the arena. The large form embraces an events hall for 6,000 to 8,000 spectators plus a smaller training hall. The arena reacts to the site through geometrical modifications: the ellipses, hovering above another, arranged with a
much stronger shift towards the forecourt than to the other sides, thus forming a large canopy to welcome the visitors of the arena. The undersides of the protruding ellipses are illuminated to manifest the building as a whole. In the evening the lights on the undersides additionally help to move the focus of the arena towards the forecourt.
- Christophe Gulizzi Architecte - Christophe Gulizzi