Populous, the global sports and entertainment venue architectural design firm, has completed its work on Arena DuCO’Met, the final part of a major new sports and cultural complex that has been created in the French city of Orléans, located on the banks of the Loire, 75 miles southwest of Paris.
The 10,000-seat arena was opened to the public on Saturday, January 7, with an inaugural men’s handball tournament featuring the French national team prior to the World Men’s Handball Championship, held until January 29. Working alongside the project architect Ferrier Marchetti Studio, Chaix & Morel and Associates as lead designer of the centre’s conference and exhibition facilities, and Bouygues Construction as the contractor, Populous is the designated sports architect for the seating bowl and interiors of the 10,000-seat arena.
With the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics fast approaching, it has also been approved for international competitions in volleyball, handball, badminton, boxing, gymnastics, judo, athletics and basketball, with Orléans Loiret Basket the arena’s resident club. A ring of 28 boxes, housing between nine and 30 seats, is surmounted by a 360-degree LED banner screen, providing 260 linear meters for advertising, as well as an LED cube, to replay action and enhance the event experience.
The project is the latest completion by Populous France, based out of Paris. Other current projects include La Meinau Stadium in Strasbourg, and the 16,000 capacity Olympique Lyonnais Groupe indoor venue in Lyon. . said: “This project represents an important step forward in the continued development of Orleans’ cultural and business offering and will attract visitors from across France. As we continue to expand our business operations in the country, Populous is proud to have delivered an arena that will not only play a central role in the sporting events programme for the region but stands ready to serve as a world-class performance venue for athletes training for a variety of sports at the Paris 2024 Olympics,” said Francois Clement Senior Principal at Populous and the General Manager of Populous France.
The Centre Orléans Métropole (CO’Met) is the first multifunction facility in France to combine an arena, conference hall, and exhibition center in one location, in addition to the existing and neighbouring Zénith d’Orléans, a 5,000-seat indoor sporting arena and concert hall. It will enable Orleans to simultaneously host national and international sports, cultural and economic events. Instead of a single, multi-purpose building, Orléans Métropole opted for a modular and complementary set, comprising the ‘The Loiret’ exhibition center, which can be expanded from16,000 m² to 33,000 m² and divided into four halls, the convention centre – including a 1,000-seat auditorium with optimised acoustics – and the arena.