On March 6, AAPA became the first group of journalists to visit the newly finished Olympic Aquatic Centre. The Centre claims to be “the only permanent sports facility to be built for the Paris 2024 Games”.
We were shown around for hours by the two architects, Laure Mériaud and Cécile Gross. We were wowed by what a state-of-the-art 2020s building can look like: made largely of pinewood, with a solar farm on the roof, and vast windows looking across at the Stade de France opposite the A1 motorway.
The plan is to convert the building straight after the Games into a neighbourhood sports centre – a much-needed asset in what is the poorest département in mainland France, where one in two 11-year-olds starts collège unable to swim.
We journalists found it an inspiring preview of an Olympics that are intended to remake Seine St-Denis, the epicentre of the event.