In December 2009, the city of Nice launched an international competition for the construction of a new 35,000-seat stadium capable of hosting large international competitions. The stadium would sit at the heart of the Eco Valley in the Plaine du Var, named an ‘Operation of National Interest’ (OIN) in March 2008, and was to be the first flagship project in the new district.
The competition programme – the product of a public-private partnership – included three projects to be built in a seismic zone, each with a different completion date:
-a stadium with 35,000 seats, multi-purpose facilities (sports and concerts), UEFA approved, well-integrated with its urban environment, and in line with sustainable development principles
-the Musée National du Sport (National Sports Museum)
-a real estate development plan (PIA) including 29,000m² of retail space designed to animate the area.
The Wilmotte & Associés SA / VINCI Concessions team submitted their proposal on 10 September 2010, and the city of Nice awarded them in October. Situated five kilometres north of the Nice Côte d’Azur airport in the Saint-Isidore Sud section of the Plaine du Var, the Allianz-Riviera Stadium occupies a strategic position within the Eco Valley project. Responding to the programme’s first requirement – integration within the Eco Valley landscape – Wilmotte & Associates designed a stadium with an undulating form, evoking the flight of a bird.
With the goal of constructing a slice of the city, Wilmotte & Associates designed a compact, ‘cauldron-shaped’ stadium that would reinforce the urban plan. A network of public spaces and bike paths aligns with the existing urban fabric and roadways. The car parks are located beneath the building complex, leaving space for gardens and landscaping that connect the complex with the rest of the city.
Wilmotte & Associates wanted the Allianz Riviera Stadium to be a beacon for the Eco Valley – its crowning accomplishment – and a building that would embody the district’s identity. The complex has a range of integrated functions: leisure and culture for the stadium and the Musée National du Sport, retail for the development plan, and residences and offices for the neighbouring Eco Quarter.
The concourse is the link between the city and the stadium. Connected to the ‘40-metre wide road’, it spans the Eco Quarter served by two tramway stops. This large public space opens onto the stadium, facilitating access. The concourse purposefully circumvents the residential quarter so as to not disturb locals. Thanks to its flexibility, the space can accommodate a diverse range of events all year long, and will serve as an everyday link to the Eco Quarter.
Wilmotte & Associates paid special attention to the stadium’s ‘skin’ which animates both the interior and exterior of the building. The architectural parti was transparency: eliminating the distinction between inside and outside, providing views, and making the stadium glow at night. This concept is achieved with the space frame structure, clad with a transparent membrane (ETFE). By day this envelope brings in diffuse natural light, and by night it makes the stadium glow. The structure is visible from the exterior: there is a play of light and shadow between the ETFE and the wooden lattice.
The lightweight, airy, and luminous silhouette of the building owes much to this membrane that is set off the structure by metal braces. Acting like a protective veil, the membrane sometimes shelters and sometimes opens the stadium up to its surroundings. From the motorway, the stadium’s closed facade accentuates the iconic presence of the impressive facility. The veil lifts slightly on two sides, opening onto the concourse to welcome the spectators.
This openness, reinforced on the building envelope by the numerous views framing the landscape, contributes to the spectator’s comfort and wellbeing: the relationship between inside and outside can be felt from every point of the stadium. Furthermore, the moment a visitor enters the stadium they are in visual contact with the pitch (or stage) even from the walkways: you don’t have to be in the stands to watch the show. The walkways are wide and generously scaled, allowing rapid evacuation of the stadium and ensuring spectator safety. Source by Wilmotte & Associés.
Location: Nice, France
Architect: Wilmotte & Associés
Building Engineering (Stadium): Egis Bâtiment
Infrastructure Engineering: Egis France
Technical Control Office: Bureau Véritas
Health And Safety Coordinator: Bureau Véritas
Fire Safety Coordinator: Pca Sud-Est
Constructors: Vinci Construction France, Via Its Subsidiaries Dumez Côte D’azur, Gtm Sud, Gtm Tp Côte D’azur Triverio Construction, Campenon Bernard Sud-Est Et Fargeot Lamellé Collé (Owned By Arbonis)
Solar Farm: Edf Enr Solaire
Site area: 14 HA
Stadium: 54,000 m2, 35,000 seats
Licensing authority: City Of Nice
Project Owner: Nice Eco Stadium
Promoter: Adim Côte D’azur
Photographs: Miläne Servelle, Serge Demailly