K-Architectures employs local maritime pine to complete stadium complex in southwestern France
Guillaume Amat

K-Architectures employs local maritime pine to complete stadium complex in southwestern France

20 Mar 2024  •  News  •  By Collin Anderson

Paris-based K-Architectures has recently completed the renovation and expansion of the Pierre-Paul Bernard stadium in Talence, a suburb of Bordeaux in southwestern France. The stadium is celebrated as the site of a world record-breaking performance in the decathlon as well as the annual host of Bordeaux’s largest sporting attraction, a decathlon event receiving some 15,000 spectators annually. 

The Pierre-Paul Bernard stadium was initially constructed in 1976 within the protected 60-hectare forest known as Bois de Thouars. In 2016 the municipality of Bordeaux selected K-Architectures to modernize the stadium's track and grandstands while introducing a new 4,000 square meter sports complex and maintenance facilities.

photo_credit Guillaume Amat
Guillaume Amat

The stadium extension features two new structures positioned at the forest’s edge. The focal point is the sports complex which houses 3,500 square meters of covered, climate-controlled spaces dedicated to athletes and the public with indoor practice halls, a dojo martial arts training space, a weight room, an administrative section and communal spaces. Accompanying the sports complex is a smaller pavilion dedicated to gardeners and maintenance staff with direct access to the stadium. The two constructions adopt the same architectural language at different scales. 

photo_credit K-ARCHITECTURES
K-ARCHITECTURES
photo_credit Guillaume Amat
Guillaume Amat

Thouars is a forest which boasts rich biodiversity, abundant wildlife, numerous plant species, rare and protected trees and a water body sustaining a wetland ecosystem. Due to the stadium's location within the designated forest, the architects were tasked with ensuring that the extension did not disrupt the natural setting or require the removal of any existing trees. K-Architectures conceived a low-rise structure with organic forms that harmonized with the forest surroundings. The new construction was strategically organized into a cluster of simple barns, carefully positioned around existing trees to minimize environmental impact.

photo_credit K-ARCHITECTURES
K-ARCHITECTURES
photo_credit Guillaume Amat
Guillaume Amat

The building's materials were carefully chosen to respect the site. Darkened wooden battens clad the facades, while the roofs are made from thin corrugated metal sheets, mirroring the lightness of the tree canopies. These constructions exhibit a deliberate simplicity, eliminating unnecessary elements. According to the architects, this design approach also pays homage to the local Girolle style of homes popularized in the 1960s, which is characterized by light roofs, broad overhangs, and an emphasis on transparency, natural light, and integration with the landscape.

photo_credit Guillaume Amat
Guillaume Amat

Wood was specified for the structure as well as cladding to maximize the amount of bio sourced material used in the building, as well as for its capacity to sequester carbon dioxide. The glulam framework for the stadium’s new buildings was produced using local pine. Recent advancements in the use of maritime pine for framing, specifically the Landes pine species abundant in southwestern France, benefited the construction of new buildings. Historically, this species lacked the necessary characteristics for producing framing with large dimensions. However, a glulam manufacturer located less than seven kilometers from the site utilized new automated processes to identify and eliminate major wood defects. It also adapted its production and manufacturing processes to ensure a supply chain that was entirely local, supporting the sustainability and economic viability of the project.

photo_credit Guillaume Amat
Guillaume Amat

Landes pine was specified for use on the interiors as well. It is employed as wall cladding in the athletics hall, acoustic cladding in the dojo training space, and for custom-designed furniture elements. The vertical wood cladding on the facades is manufactured from douglas fir sourced from forests further from the site, but treated and finished in a local workshop prior to installation. The wood cladding was burnt using the Japanese technique of Yakisugi, a treatment which enhances the wood’s resilience to fire, insects and fungi.

photo_credit Guillaume Amat
Guillaume Amat
photo_credit Guillaume Amat
Guillaume Amat

Renovation work on the existing structures from the 1970s was aligned with the architecture of the new addition. It included the full refurbishment and partial recladding of the grandstand, for instance, with its base, piers and facades darkened to blend with the burnt finish of the new buildings. 

photo_credit Guillaume Amat
Guillaume Amat
photo_credit Guillaume Amat
Guillaume Amat