The winning entry was selected from a shortlist of six fantastic projects, with each project championing the elegant, natural and versatile qualities of wood that continues to challenge architects today.
On board to judge this year’s entries were an experienced panel of judges, which included Adrian Campbell, Associate Director at Arup Associates; James Greaves, Partner at Hopkins Architects; Dmitri Jajich, Associate Director at Skidmore Owings & Merrill and Mikko Viljakainen, Director at Puuinfo.
The Hacine Chérifi Gymnasium takes its name from a former World Middleweight Champion boxer from nearby Lyon. Situated in the heart of Rillieux-la-Pape, the building includes a multi-purpose sports hall and a gymnasium. Part of the gymnasium is underground and it is accessed from the top of the spectator seating stands. This means the height of the building, as viewed from the street, is half of its actual height, minimising the impact of its very large volume. James was quick to say “It’s exactly the sort of project that should win an award.”
The building is composed of a concrete base and mounted with a timber lattice beam structure. The façades and roofing are made up of straw-bale panels. The whole building is covered with vertical Larchwood cladding and is kept deliberately neutral, without pretence or artifice. Adrian commented on this saying “they’ve set a wonderful president, in terms of the delivery of it, it looks really clean." The architects choose to keep most of building structures exposed on the inside. A light colour palette has been used to create a calm, peaceful atmosphere and ensure the facilities remain discreet. The only colour is the red gymnastic equipment, which creates a stark contrast with the overall monochromatic tone.
The whole structure uses 583 m3 of wood in a variety of different forms and the facility is equipped with a wood-fuelled heating system. “It’s a really good use of wood” commented James, with Mikko saying ‘“This has potential as a model for the future.”
We’d like to take the opportunity to thank not only the jury, but all who entered their projects into this years’ WAN Wood in Architecture Award.