Paris 2024 Aquatics Centre

Paris Aquatics Centre Photo

The birthplace of one of the world’s most substantial agreements on climate change, France is now out to make its Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games the most sustainable of the megaevent’s history. The carbon-neutral vision calls for only two new builds: an Olympic and Paralympic Village billed as the “ultimate eco-district of the future” and a US$190 million Aquatics Centre in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Denis. The two design firms behind the venue made a big splash when they unveiled their plans for the state-of-the-art spot for synchronized swimming, diving and water polo competitions.

Sustainable materials and energy conservation are at the heart of the project plan from design firms VenhoevenCS of the Netherlands and Ateliers 2/3/4/ of Paris. To be created in collaboration with Métropole du Grand Paris and construction firm Bouygues Batiment Ile-de-France, the center aims to illustrate “how sustainable design concepts can evolve in new architectural aesthetics that contribute to the improvement of the quality of life in our cities,” according to the designers.

Building a saddle-shape roof with wood framing will allow the team to double the required minimum percentage of bio-sourced construction materials for the project, including a facade that will be wrapped in a timber screen. Inside, the team plans to use wood waste sourced from the construction site and upcycled plastic furnishings. 

A massive solar array—one of the country’s largest—will be layered across the roof and will generate 25 percent of the structure’s required electricity production. Reducing the energy demand and creating a smart energy system will help the team secure 90 percent of the facility’s energy needs through renewable or recovered energy. Also on tap: a system that reduces the facility’s water use while still meeting hygiene standards. 

Outside, the team will plant 100 new trees near the center to help boost air quality as well as stimulate biodiversity and the overall ecosystem. The goal is to extend the life of the 19,974-square-meter (215,000-square-foot) venue well beyond the Olympics, with lasting benefits for the Saint-Denis community. Plans include converting the 6,000-seat center into a 2,500-seat multisport recreational facility, giving local residents access to three new pools.