A perfect combination of old and new: a farm converted into a multi-sport centre thanks to steel solutions

Building a sports hall on a former farm proved to be a difficult exercise of conciliation between structural strength and the predominant character of a building historically anchored on a landscaped site - in addition to the relevant answers related to the specific and demanding requirements originating from the practice of sport.

Detailed information

The particular configuration of the farm in a U shape led the architect to implement a multi-sport field (44 x 22 m) in the yard and three function rooms and a brasserie in the farm's wings. The architectural part consisted, on one hand, of preserving the typology of the building in line with its rural character and restoring it accordingly; and, on the other hand, in limiting architectural interventions as much as possible so the building was respected.

Construction system with a significant roof span

Steel quickly established itself as the main ally of the architect together with concrete. The farm yard was covered with a roof made of self-supporting steel trays covered with steel sheets and supported by an extremely light steel structure. A peripheral skylight strengthens the impression of lightness and makes the roof appear to be floating over the walls.

The designers chose this construction system due to the significant roof span of about 25 m that they curved in order to achieve the height required for the approval of the court, starting with a limited height at the eaves.

On the edges of this dome structure, glulam beams form a belt to avoid thermal bridges.

Metal frame: structural lightness with its complex shape

Techno Metal Industry realised all the work related to the metal frame: geometrical studies, overall plans, studies and assembly plans, shop fabrication, treatment in an external paint workshop, exceptional transport to the site, and installation.

The structural elements are as follows: 9 main beams with a length of 25 m, 4 hip beam units, and 10 secondary beams, all with  a total weight of 22 tonnes of S355 grade steel. Their fire resistance is of half an hour after application of an intumescent paint. U-shaped profiles were welded at the top of the tubular trusses to accommodate the roof elements.

This was a complex project given the constraints of renovation. In addition, handling and assembly were rendered difficult because of the lightness of the elements. The result is a true achievement of structural lightness with its complex shape, all associated with the preserved rustic elements.

Roofing system

On this metal frame, the company HD Systems placed a GlobalRoof roofing system consisting of three main components: steel support trays, insulation, and metal sheets as an external skin. The liner trays  (Hacierba 160.600 HR ArcelorMittal Construction) are made of prepainted and perforated metal sheet with 15% perforation and a thickness of 0.75 mm. Their particular shape allows for the taking of a certain load at relatively large spans and provides a cavity to resume insulation while presenting a smooth surface on the inside of the building. 223 parts with lengths ranging from 1 m to 10.5 m were necessary in this case, with a total weight of 9447 kg.

Insulation was doubled given the strong airborne noise present in this type of sports hall: 25 mm with soundproofing rock wool and 140 mm of glass wool for thermal insulation, with a vapour barrier between the two.

The roof is covered with an external steel skin: 174 sheets ranging in length from 1 m to 7.67 m (with  a total weight of 8167 kg) and pre-painted and curved steel sheets with a thickness of 0.75 mm were used. These  sheets have a trapezoidal shape which gives the roof a certain resistance to take its own weight and snow loads. In this case, the profiled sheet used was NERVESCO 3.45.1000, also produced by ArcelorMittal Construction. The arrangement of the sheets and their superposition at the joints ensured the achievement of this perfectly tight complex.

Sustainable aspects

The designers paid particular attention to the building's energy management.

Firstly, the building was totally insulated from the inside so as to achieve a K30 and limit heat losses. In addition, renewable energies were particularly put in the spotlight. In terms of water, the objective was autonomy (via large rainwater tanks). Solar panels heat the water for the showers and a quarter of the electrical power is supplied by photovoltaic panels. Ventilation is provided by a double flow mechanical system located in the attic of the barn. The entire complex is heated by two wood pellet boilers.

Project information

  • Miavoye - Anthée
  • Belgium
  • 2011 - 2014
  • Architect:
    Atelier de l’Arbre d’Or, Namur
  • Client:
    Town councils of Onhaye and Hastière
  • Engineering office:
    BSolutions, Gembloux
  • Contractor:
    Duchêne, Modave
  • Steel construction:
    Techno Métal Industrie, Seilles (structure), HD Systems, Verviers (roof)
  • Photography:
    Serge Brison, Technometal, HD Systems