The objective of the newly-built Allianz Riviera Stadium in Nice, France by international design practice Wilmotte & Associés goes beyond the simple yearning to build a visually appealing sports facility.
The competition’s winning entry located 15-km away from Nice’s historical centre, sitting in the heart of the Éco-Vallée of Plaine du Var, is actually comprised of three projects – a 35,000-seat multi-purpose stadium, a sports museum and an extensive, mixed real-estate development plan – meeting specific environmental and urban integration requirements. This large-scale intervention works in a coherent and intelligible manner so as to encourage urban synergy.
Largely inspired by a flying bird, the stadium’s overall shape essentially reflects the aim to reinforce the surrounding urban fabric. Likewise, shifting certain services underground – like parking facilities – allows the creation of generous green spaces connecting the building to the rest of the Saint-Isidore neighbourhood.
Prompted by explicit design intentions in compliance with sustainable development principles, the designers investigate – through an innovative skin – the notion of immateriality as an actual tectonic quality. Explicitly displaying the largest wood/steel earthquake-resistant structure ever built, the project’s distinctive transparency mainly engages in blurring the boundaries between the interior and the exterior in order to animate its composition both during the day and at night.
While maintaining a financially-responsible and low-carbon approach to design, the architects were able to develop a complex undulating space-frame that combines optimal lightness with solidity. Perhaps the most noteworthy features on this cutting-edge architectural feat remain the extensive solar photovoltaic panel structure, the rainwater collection system and the highly-efficient wind-driven ventilation system, making the Allianz Riviera one of the first EnergyPlus stadiums.
Photos Milène Servelle and Serge Demailly