As a space to unify and reveal, the Wangari Maathai Center in the Saint-Blaise area of Paris was made to break free from constraints. Designed by Bruther, the center was created so inhabitants could appropriate the space. Now photographer Alexandra Timpau has captured the sports and cultural center through a series of new photographs. Through the images, Alexandra worked to show how the building adapted to the needs of the people living inside, through decoration, new temporary enclosures, and through the facade.
Founded in 2007 by Stéphanie Bru and Alexandre Theriot, Bruther works in the fields of architecture, research, education, urbanism and landscape. As the team states, the culture and sports center was part of an urban renewal plan and it took into account those conditions. Compact, the project becomes landmark in this dense neighborhood; it saves ground and is developed vertically, while respecting the required distances from the surrounding buildings. In the axis of rue Mouraud, the location allows the new center to benefit from excellent sun conditions and offers views from the street to the courtyard, as well as generous public space.
Transparent, the project becomes a link which establishes new perspectives and creates relationships between the different amenities of the neighborhood, by both its location and materiality. Then this network of amenities (nursery, school…) is linked by the large public space. Through the transparency and porosity of its urban hall, the center was made to invite, welcome and link populations and uses. Along its four faces, the project offers and stacks a range of materialities, more or less transparent, in relation with the different activities. It adapts the building envelope to the specific needs and functions, and it exposes the new uses to the inhabitants; during the night, it glows and lights its environment, supporting the renewal of the neighborhood.
Flexible, the new center was conceived as a sustainable architecture. Independent from the curtain wall, its concrete structure carries a series of free floors distributed by a core. In a compact volume, the project aggregates a large diversity of functions, spaces, uses, relations to the outside, materials…and displays them in a neighborhood where there is no diversity. It is a single volume, with slightly curved faces, expressing the superposition of distinct functions in elevation, with strips surrounding the building. Each part of the ensemble, each layer of the stratification, offers its own qualities and characteristics.