La Defense benefits from a central position within the 12-million-inhabitant metropolis that surrounds it. Connected by several subways, suburban commuter trains and streetcar lines, Paris' business district is characterized by a high accessibility in terms of public transit. Sometimes referred to as the French Manhattan, the neighbourhood concentrates most of the city's tallest buildings, and is no stranger to large-scale infrastructure and crowds. As a result, a site situated to the west of the neighbourhood was chosen for the construction of a new mixed-use entertainment facility, Arena 92.
Currently under construction, the arena will become the residence of local rugby club Racing 92 upon completion later this year. With a seating capacity of 32,000 during rugby games, the structure was designed by French architecture firm Atelier Christian de Portzamparc and contributes to the urban redevelopment scheme overseen by the government-operated EPADESA. The arena will be equipped with artificial turf, 22 bars and restaurants, 100 private booths, a 2,000-square-metre screen for simultaneous broadcasting, and be built according to the High Environmental Quality regulations, a standard for green building in France.
In order to optimize the €400 million investment, Arena 92 can be converted into a concert venue with a capacity of up to 40,000, the largest in France. In addition, 33,000 square metres of office space have been integrated into the project, enabling the arena to be used as a business centre on a day-to-day basis. Due to the arena's multiple uses, architects determined that a non-retractable roof that completely sealed the structure from the elements was a better choice over a retractable canopy, and will also ensure better sound insulation for the surrounding community.
The arena's facades will be covered in a light-tinted glass scales designed not only to reflect their surroundings during the day, but to be illuminated by LED lights of varying colours at night. In contrast to the airy look of the facade, the structure will be topped by a concrete crown. The main entrance, on the south side of the building, will be marked by two flights of stairs naturally following the area's slight incline. To the north, the eight-storey business centre will feature what appears to be a glass and concrete facade, the latter boasting a similar hue to the rest of the venue.
The construction of Arena 92 can be followed through the live webcam placed adjacent to the site. You can find additional information in the associated Database file. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the dedicated Forum thread or leave a comment below.