The direction of the winds and the path of the sun have determined the floor plan for our project. Protected from cold north-easterly winter winds, nestling up to the forest, the aquatic park opens towards the west to make the most of cool breezes in warm weather.
Looking out to the south-west, the aquatic park is bathed in light throughout the year. It is oriented so as to receive as much sunlight as possible in winter, while protecting itself from excessive exposure to the sun through its terraces in summer. Like an origami sculpture, our proposal for the aquatic park resembles an unfolding landscape, culminating at around 35m: it is a built landscape, rising into the sky.
A World that has emerged from the Lake
Located by a large expanse of water, the aquatic park looks like a world that has emerged from the lake. It is an aerial construction, layering hanging gardens, playing with water and transparency. The terraces are open to walkers, and are used to oxygenate the waters of the lake.
The new landscape is composed of waterfalls, mist, steam and aquatic plants. The unique character of our proposal, which blurs the lines between landscape and built environment, creates a beacon, visible from all parts of Villages Nature. By day and by night, the aquatic park becomes a major icon of the site.
As the origami unfolds, it creates empty spaces. These spaces are filled by large glass panels that let natural light into the aquatic centre and give visitors the sensation of a continuity between the interior and exterior.
At the top of the building, a transparent dome with a remarkable geometry allows visitors to swim while watching the sky. This dome forms the silhouette of the aquatic park. The structure and the roofing have been optimised to disappear in the sight lines from the basins and accentuate the presence of the sky.
A Permanent Spectacle
The various elements related to environmental sustainability – geo-thermal energy, water recycling – come together to form a coherent narrative that structures the entire project, and can be clearly read by the public. The principle of the project, with its accumulation of levels, extends the aquatic park into sun-lounges, terraces and restaurants.
These activities can easily be linked to seasonal variations in attendance. An auditorium barge arrives in the evenings and at various times of day to offer concerts and shows. The aquatic park forms an extraordinary backdrop for Villages Nature’s shows on the lake, fireworks displays and light shows.
The entrance to the aquatic park is connected to a large forecourt around which Villages Nature’s different «public» spaces are arranged: forum, sports centre. The hall, which opens onto the lake, leads to changing rooms via a long corridor and servant spaces (machine room, storage, etc.).
Once visitors have gone through the changing room area, they discover the inner space of the aquatic park, designed as a large expanse of water strewn with islands of various sizes and with a variety of functions. This archipelago extends outside, into the lagoon, accentuating the continuity between indoors and outdoors. The air pavilion links the other two pavilions. It is set back from the edge of the lagoon to create a protected space. Source by Jacques Ferrier Architecture.
- Location: Villages Nature Paris, next to Marne-la-Vallée (77), France
- Architect: Jacques Ferrier Architecture
- Envelope and structure Engineering: C&E Ingénierie
- Landscaper: Interscene Thierry Huau
- Lifeguard station design: Sensual City Studio
- High Environmental: Transsolar
- Assistance: Quality
- Fluids: Inex
- Economist: Artella
- Acoustician: Peutz
- Lightening: Atelier Audibert
- Certification: HQE certification
- Client: Villages Nature Paris
- Area: 8 000 sqm
- Year: 2017
- Photographs: Didier Boy De La Tour, Courtesy of Jacques Ferrier Architecture
Article by Marco Rinaldi