AGENCE SEARCH presents undulating Mantes-la-Jolie Water Sports Centre
The new water sports centre Mantes-la-Jolie is emblematic of urban renewal in the Val-Fourré public housing projects. In addition to social integration, the new complex is tasked with the joining together of cityscape and landscape. Conscious of the stakes, Agence SEARCH seized the occasion to create bold high-quality architecture.
They explain: “To make the beautiful banal, an everyday figure in a neighbourhood that is often stigmatised, to make it accessible conveys a message of optimism and opportunity.” The Mantes-la-Jolie water sports centre was henceforth interpreted in three ways: as a part the greater landscape, as a filter, and through the theme of water.
The exceptional site offers beautiful views of the Vexin hillsides. The undulating morphology of the buildings’ green rooftop responds to the hills on the other side of the Seine. The architecture was conceived as a landscape with the intention being to heighten the connection between the users and the surrounding natural environment, be they inside or outside the buildings.
A unifying force between the city and nature, the Mantes-la-Jolie water sports centre is structured by the interplay of transparencies, beginning with the mashrabiya on the city-side façade and extending inside the building through a series of porous spaces. Porosity, gradation, progressive dilation of limits and boundaries between exterior and interior - such processes bring the Vexin hillsides and the Val-Fourré housing project together, all the while opening up the facility to the neighbourhood.
The successive filters create a nuanced atmosphere of calm and serenity. Water is the unifying element of the project. The reproduction of undulating form at different scales and with different subjects is an explicit reference to the aquatic element. From this point of view, it expresses the essence of the activity thereby marking its identity.