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Equestrian inquiry: The Grand Stadt by Joly Loiret, Fontainbleau, Paris.

view from stadium

With the Euro soccer tournament currently in full flow, and the Olympics games due to start in a few weeks, stadia design is a hot topic. But out of the limelight of major international competitions, where national ego is reflected in the size and budgets of the stadia, or the major sports and racing leagues, where some similar measure applies, there tends to be far less consideration given to the designs of stadia for smaller, local events.

This equestrian centre designed by Joly Loiret shows what can be done for these smaller settings to ensure that they are a pleasure in their own right, and usable by a wide part of the community. The whole project can be considered as a sensitive manipulation of the landscape in a physical, sporting and social sense, rather than the imposition of a super-ego. That said, it is no less impressive than many of the forthcoming Olympic venues.

The complex consists of a horse track circumscribed with a pedestrian track, a stadium with some indoor, and covered spaces and a series of wooden landscape steps that fall somewhere between bleachers and terraces. Landscape bankings give way to forest. The architectural language is that of a modern vernacular that is rooted in its environmental context.

view from a distance

another distant view

rear of stand

entrance to stand

structure of stand

view up the terraces


section 1

section 2

section 3

section 4

site plan

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