School of architecture

In Clermont-Ferrand, France, du Besset–Lyon converted a 1930’s sanatorium into a School of Architecture, restating the ideal relationship between the building and the surrounding nature.

du Besset–Lyon, Clermont-Ferrand School of Architecture, Clermont-Ferrand, France
The task was to transform a sanatorium, built in 1930’s, into a School of Architecture.
The Sanatorium is a perfect example of functional architecture, and it has to change radically its function. In order to preserve the rational spirit of the existing building and to create a model of a coherent architecture for the future students, du Besset - Lyon’s project becomes a pure reconversion: they restated the main architectural concept of the Sanatorium.
du Besset - Lyon, Clermont-Ferrand School of architecture, Clermont-Ferrand, France
du Besset–Lyon, Clermont-Ferrand School of Architecture, Clermont-Ferrand, France

The building is isolated in a vast landscape. This ideal relationship between construction and nature is restated. Nature regains its unity, it surrounds the building and, linked to the landscape, it acquires a territorial dimension. At times, the sanatorium isolated the patients; today, it hosts social activities.

The essential student gatherings are located on the ground floor in connected spaces.

The sun was the reason of existence of the sanatorium that was oriented towards the south. The architects interpreted this distinctive feature: the main entry, situated on the North facade is no longer considered as a back shadowy side of the South facade. It receives the sun thanks to a monumental mirror that reflects the illuminated landscape. On each level, the horizontal circulation is placed on the South side of the building and serves as a thermal barrier protecting the studios from the sunlight. The narrowness of the building becomes of a use. On each level the main circulation is placed along the South side of the building. One can enjoy an exceptionally open panoramic view taking the long walkway.
The sanatorium is a rational architecture that had to be adapted to the actual fire and seismic regulations. The existing structure in masonry has been doubled for seismic reasons by a substantial steel structure. The fire security passage runs along southern façade and coordinates the relationship between the building and the terrace garden.

School of architecture, Clermont-Ferrand, France
Program: school
Architect: du Besset–Lyon
Client: Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication
Structural engineers: Khephren Ingénierie
HVAC engineering: Espace Temps
Economist: JC Drauart
Acoustic expert: JP Lamoreux
Infrastructure engineers: ATPI INFRA
Fire security expert: Casso & Associes
Cost: 21.55 M € ht
Area: 11.500 sqm
Completion: August 2015

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