The 2018 Roland-Garros tennis tournament will take place from May 27th to June 10th. While the entire Roland-Garros organizing team is mobilized to make a success of this world famous sport event, another team is busy delivering a spectacularly revamped Roland-Garros stadium in 2019 and 2020.
The organizer of the Roland-Garros tournament, the French Federation of Tennis (FFT), is at the origin of the stadium modernization project. Roland-Garros stadium had become much too small and it was not functional enough compared to its big international competitors like Winbledon and Flushing Meadows. The Philippe-Chatrier central court at the center of Roland-Garros map below had no roof, a big problem when it rains. The Place des Mousquetaires, the central meeting point left of it on the map, was much too small and the offices were outdated.
Among other scenarios, the decision was taken in 2011 to keep the exceptional location of Roland-Garros stadium on the edge of Bois de Boulogne. This scenario extends the stadium into Serres d’Auteuil, a wonderful botanical garden next to the stadium on the right, and relocates there the tennis court n°1. It has been the key factor leading to a huge controversy and multiple court challenges to the project, now cleared. The FFT is the contracting authority for all Roland-Garros works for a total cost of 360 million euros. It self-finances these costs at close to 95%. Owner of the site and responsible for the urban development, the City of Paris has supported the project since the beginning. It subsidizes the project up to 20 million euros. The most spectacular elements of Roland-Garros project shown on the map below are the retractable roof of the Philippe-Chatrier court (2020), which will allow to hold the competitions whatever the weather, the new court in Serres d’Auteuil on the right of the map, which will be harmoniously integrated into the garden (2019) and the new Les Mousquetaires central square at the center of the map, which will become an open esplanade of one hectare. The new Roland-Garros stadium will be one of the major equipments of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
The capacity of the new Philippe-Chatrier court, shown below, is maintained at 15 000 seats and the refitting of the stands offers better comfort and better visibility to the spectators. New spaces are created under the stands, especially for players and the media. The retractable roof of Philippe-Chatrier court takes up the symbolism of the biplane of the aviator Roland-Garros: its shape and structure have been reworked like an airplane wing. It is made of steel and translucent and waterproof canvas; and can be deployed in about fifteen minutes. It allows the Philippe-Chatrier court to maintain its status as an outdoor stadium, bathed in light and sun, while allowing the continuation of the game during bad weather and the holding of evening sessions.
The current Place des Mousquetaires, which became too small, takes on a new dimension in the new Roland-Garros. Redeveloped into a vast green esplanade of nearly one hectare in the heart of the stadium, the new place des Mousquetaires will air the site and promote the fluidity of travel during the tournament, especially when switching from day sessions to evening sessions. Installed on the east side of Central Court, a giant screen will allow you to follow live Roland-Garros matches throughout the fortnight. During the rest of the year, outside the tournament, the square will be open to the public on the model of a Parisian square, offering the neighborhood a new breathing space of nearly one hectare. In replacement of the current court n ° 1, to enlarge the Place des Mouquetaires, a new court Simonne-Mathieu court will be built in the south-east part of Serres d’Auteuil, in place of greenhouses devoid of any particular architectural interest contrary to the other greenhouses there. Semi-buried, with a capacity of nearly 5,000 seats, this third tennis court will only show visitors to the garden the four greenhouses between which it will be enshrined. These new greenhouses, inspired by the architecture of the historic greenhouses of Formigé kept in the garden, will be in perfect harmony with the garden of Serres d’Auteuil and will propose an exploration on the theme of the four continents. A project that is part of the renewal of the Botanical Garden.
Paris is moving forward. The revamped Roland-Garros stadium will be another spectacular venue of the city in 2020.