Borex and Crassier, two villages located at the foot of the Jura mountains and near the city of Nyon, share a school complex located on their border. The particular characteristics of this site derive from its structural fabric made up of a variety of heterogeneous buildings - in terms of design and allocation : residential homes, cemetery, cable network station and telephone relay. The expansion of the existing sports hall is the result of a competition and left little margin of freedom because of a limited perimeter. Due to its position, the new extension reinforces the western boundary with the countryside and takes advantage of the break in terrain in order to reduce the impact of volume on the site. The quest for continuity with the existing building dictates the rules in terms of extension volume. The “fusional” approach adopted towards the existing structure allows to define a single entrance for the three sports halls.
This new entrance located on the same level as the schoolyard gives direct access to the foyer, which, like a balcony, overlooks the new hall. From this foyer, an architectural promenade enables visitors to enjoy changing ambiance, daylight and views as they walk down to the lower level intended for the dressing rooms and sports halls. The lookout on the surrounding countryside through a large opening reinforces the notion of lower level.
Showcasing the view, accentuated by the absence of vertical uprights over a length of thirty-two meters, is made possible thanks to a multi-trellis wooden beam six meters high and prefabricated in solid pine wood. The static system of the building derives from the intertwining of these multi-trellis beams. Their composition in three layers of wood of different thickness – a vertical layer flush with the interior cladding to guarantee the beam’s structural resistance, and two diagonal ones – reinforces the effect of transparency.
The interior space of these halls is defined on three of its sides by this play of wooden beams and affords a particular atmosphere further enhanced by the play of light which brings the beam’s cane texture to life. These effects are accentuated by the exterior covering, in translucent glass, and the interstitial space, one meter thick, which regulates the inside temperature and the intake of outside air through mechanically controlled louvers.
Reinforced by the play of light and the uniform use of materials for its coverings, this structure features abstract aspects which reorganise the site and allow recalcitrant children to daydream during physical education classes.