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Rolling Stones open spectacular 'House of Racing' rugby stadium in Paris

By Kim Megson    02 Nov 2017
The U Arena is illuminated by 3,000 LED strips casting over 16 million colours. / David Silpa/PA Images
The aim was to build ‘the house of Racing’; an ultra-modern enclosure in which club will draw most of its financial resources by organising entertainment of all kinds
– Christian de Portzamparc

The Rolling Stones have officially opened one of the largest indoor sports stadiums in Europe, Paris’s U Arena.

The stadium will become the permanent home of French rugby club Racing 92, which will play its first fixture there in December, and will also host the Supercross motorcycle racing series, as well as music concerts.

Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and co ended their latest world tour with three sold-out shows at the stadium, built in the heart of the French capital’s La Défense district, close to the landmark Grande Arche.

Construction began in February 2014 and has cost a reported €350m (US$407.8m, £311.5m).

Designed by Pritzker-winning architect Christian de Portzamparc, the arena forms a distinctive horseshoe shape – the ‘U’ of its name – and can be illuminated by 3,000 LED strips casting over 16 million colours.

“The aim was to build the 'House of Racing’ – an ultra-modern enclosure in which the club will draw most of its financial resources by organising entertainment of all kinds,” said de Portzamparc’s practice in a design statement.

“It is the largest indoor multipurpose facility with variable capacity in France.”

The internal seating configuration can be changed via a movable stand, adjusting the capacity to anything between 10,000 and 40,000. Rugby matches will accommodate, on average, 30,400 spectators and games will be played on a synthetic turf that can be covered with ‘showcase’ tiles in 11 hours to prepare the arena for concerts.

The arena features a 6,100-tonne fixed roof raised 40m (131ft) above the ground and a prefabricated concrete facade covered by 592 giant aluminium and glass scales. One side of the arena is formed of a new building housing the headquarters of the local council, while the other three have 16 public entrance points.

Reception areas, dressing rooms and refreshment areas are located under the seating, and receive light through the glass scales in the external walls.

The U Arena is home to an image wall of 2,400sq m (25,800sq ft), one of the largest in the world, as well as 350 large HD screens spread throughout the ground. Theatre projects consultants Findlay Ross consulted on the venue’s audiovisual experience and acoustics.

Designed by Pritzker-winning architect Christian de Portzamparc, the arena forms a distinctive horseshoe shape / Nicolas Borel
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and co ended their latest world tour with three sold-out shows at the brand new stadium / David Silpa/PA Images
de Portzamparc’s creation features a 6,100 tonne fixed roof raised 40m (131ft) above the ground, and a prefabricated concrete facade covered by 592 giant aluminum and glass scales / Nicolas Borel
The landmark Grand Arche is very close to the new stadium / Nicolas Borel
592 giant aluminum and glass scales cover the facade / Nicolas Borel
Construction of the building, overseen by contractors VICNI, began in February 2014 and has cost a reported €350m (US$407.8m, £311.5m) / Nicolas Borel
he internal seating configuration can be changed via a movable stand, adjusting the capacity to anything between 10,000 and 40,000 / Nicolas Borel
U Arena  Paris  France  Racing 92  Rolling Stones  La Defense  Pritzker Prize  Christian de Portzamparc  sports architecture  stadium  Supercross 
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