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Alain Prieur Sports Center Incorporates VMZINC® Interlocking Panels

French Architect Christophe Flachaire Chooses ANTHRA-ZINC® for Building Envelope to Provide Rhythm and Finesse to the Overall Design

Raleigh, NC, June 14, 2013 --( VMZINC® -US (, has announced that French architect Christophe Flachaire has chosen the company’s ANTHRA-ZINC® product line to serve as the building envelope for the Alain Prieur Sports Center in Forcalquier, France. The building, which lies in close proximity to an existing gym, football center and swimming pool, clearly expresses the energetic vitality of judo, a sophisticated combat sport and martial art featured at the facility.

In designing and planning the Alain Prieur Sports Center, Flachaire had to overcome several building constraints, including the narrowness and slope of the plot. An additional difficulty was creating an architectural project in a semi-urban area lacking modernization and character, as the site is occupied by buildings that had been erected at different stages, with no overall urban plan.

Flachaire addressed these challenges with creative solutions that included the use of ANTHRA-ZINC® to make it stand out architecturally on all sides. The building’s main entrance is marked by a recess in the façade, in front of which stands a tall cypress tree. Along the building’s east gable, the connection with the ground was cleverly designed to express the richness of volume and boldness of the envelope. The roof seems to fly away, and the oblique line of the gable responds to the sloped façade of the old gym by blending seamlessly with the slope of its roof. This oblique line creates a transition to the huge south façade, which gives the dojo its almost monumental scales. The edge of the building is supported by slender concrete poles, creating a lightweight impression. All of the building’s openings are the same size, however some are vertical and some are horizontal to create a view that reveals the highly rigorous layout of the façades. The successful combination of standard modules and the hollow joints discreetly visible between four juxtaposed slender interlocking strips of zinc provide rhythm and finesse to the overall design of the building.

The overall impression conveyed by this building is one of precision, that of its layout, which creates a natural link with its surroundings, that of its simple, pertinent form, its envelope, which is like a discreet signal of its interior and finally, its interior layout in keeping with the purpose and state of mind of the users. This building demonstrates that with a strong guiding principle, real conceptual rigor and the invaluable support of an open-minded client, the quality of sports facilities can be significantly improved.

“For this facility, the choice of a single material for the envelope was crucial,” said Daniel Nicely, managing director at VMZINC® -US and Umicore Building Products, USA Inc. “In place of the typically industrial, neutral appearance of aluminum or lacquered steel, zinc, a discreetly noble material with a natural matte texture and perfect for all flashing details and surrounds, lets the envelope vibrate beneath the Provencal sun and makes this perilous architectural exercise credible. We appreciate the clever way Christophe Flachaire designed this sports center using our product line.”

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About VMZINC®:
VMZINC® is the international brand name of rolled zinc products manufactured and sold by the Building Products Unit of Umicore. VMZINC®, a leader in the French and Belgian markets and established in 15 countries worldwide, offers an unparalleled range of roofing products and systems, façade cladding, rainwater systems and ornaments. With a large focus on customer satisfaction, VMZINC®’s products and services have become synonymous with high quality, innovation and environmentally sustainable design. As the first company to diversify its range of surface aspects, VMZINC® offers six unique shades of preweathered zinc, in addition to natural zinc. The company strongly identifies with the Umicore Group values of responsibility, performance and progress, and for more than 10 years, VMZINC® has been closely involved with Umicore initiatives to give its operations a sustainable development framework. For additional information, visit

ABOUT Umicore Building Products USA/VMZINC®:
Umicore is a worldwide leading producer of architectural zinc under the brand name, VMZINC®. For more than 160 years, Umicore has provided innovative solutions for building owners, architects and contractors. Umicore has offices and representatives all over the world. In the United States, Umicore Building Products USA, Inc., is based in Raleigh, N.C. For additional information, visit

Kathleen Donnelly
MMI Public Relations
(919) 233-6600
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