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The perfect match: steel & sports in the Miavoye farm

The sports centre Miavoye in the rural town of Onhaye (Belgium) is a one-of-a-kind facility. Built in a former farm, its construction was a difficult exercise as the architect needed to keep the character of the original building while providing structural strength and complying with the specific and demanding requirements originating from the practice of sport.

A multi-sport centre in the middle of the countryside

From the outside, the former Miavoye farm looks like a typical rural building with its exposed stone walls and green surroundings. Inside you can find a multi-sport field (where the yard used to be), 3 function rooms and a brasserie in the farm's wings.

During the construction of the sports centre, between 2011 and 2014, the architect L’Atelier de l’Arbre d’Or made sure to preserve the typology of the building (U shape) in line with its rural character and restore it accordingly. They also limited the architectural interventions as much as possible so as to keep the building’s original character.

Steel: the architect’s ally

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 both the significant roof span of about 25 m and it curved structure (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.

A roof made with ArcelorMittal Construction’s sheets

ArcelorMittal Construction provided Hacierba 160,600 HR liner trays for the GlobalRoof roofing system. The liner trays are made of prepainted and perforated metal sheet with 15% perforation and a thickness of 0.75 mm. Their particular shape allows taking a certain load at relatively large spans and provide 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 9,447 kg. 

The roof is covered with an external steel skin composed of 174 NERVESCO 3.45.1000 sheets, also produced by ArcelorMittal Construction. The pre-painted and curved steel sheets with a thickness of 0.75 mm, range in length from 1 m to 7.67 m, with a total weight of 8,167 kg. The trapezoidal shape of the sheets gives the roof a certain resistance to take its own weight and snow loads. Their arrangement and superposition at the joints allowed to achieve this perfectly tight complex.                

Sustainability, a key element

Last but not least, the sports center Miavoye is a sustainable building. The insulation of the building helps to limit heat losses. Insulation was doubled given the strong airborne noise present in this type of sports hall: 25 mm with soundproofing rock wool, 140 mm of glass wool for thermal insulation, with a vapour barrier between the two. In addition, renewable energies were particularly put in the spotlight. In terms of water, the objective is 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.

A former farm successfully transformed into a sports hall


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Photo credits © Serge Brison, Technometal, HD Systems