Arena du Pays d’Aix
The new arena encompasses an events hall for 6,000 to 8,500 spectators as well as a smaller training hall for 1,000 to 2,000 spectators. The project 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 new handball arena is situated on a motorway intersection in the south-west of Aix-en-Provence.
The facade is composed of metallic ellipses stacked like layered contours. At first sight, the arena has no front or back, as every side of the facade is treated equally. Only a slight variation in the arrangement of the ellipses indicates the front of the Arena.
The arena reacts to the site through geometrical modifications: the ellipses, hovering above one another, are arranged with a much stronger shift towards the forecourt, thus forming a large canopy welcoming the visitors into the arena.
The undersides of the protruding ellipses are illuminated to accentuate the building as a whole. In the evening the lighting helps to move the focus of the arena towards the forecourt.