1-French Highschool Jean Mermoz, Dakar Senegal
Grand Prix AFEX 2012 for French Architecture Worldwide
This project has a radically contemporary architectural style, and is innovative in its use of passive thermal control. It uses the savoir-faire of local businesses, with great savings on technical resources, limiting the import of manufactured products.
Placing the buildings in closely aligned strips, with the spaces between forming interior islands with trees and shade, optimizes natural cross-ventilation. The type of construction used for each portion incorporates several passive solutions for cooling and protection from the sun - exterior covered walkways, ventilated cavity walls, awnings, and roofing with high thermal inertia. These systems combine to provide comfortable temperatures for most of the school year, and reduce air conditioning use to one or two months per year.
Tags: Dakar; Senegal; French Highschool; AFEX
2-French Embassy and Diplomatic Compound in Nairobi, Kenya
The design of an embassy is greatly influenced by the challenge of meeting high-level security needs, while still being welcoming. In a geopolitical climate that is increasingly unstable, security aspects are, by necessity, a dominant factor, and these constraints weigh heavily on the layout and architecture of the space. Even so, the embassy must continue to express the universal values of French culture : one that is open to the world, welcoming, and that protects human rights, serving French citizens and its host country.
This is the foundation of our project, offering an open design that is closely tied to the surroundings. It is characterized by specific constraints, using a spatial organization where architecture and landscape are built on a «closed courtyard» concept, with geometry that provides a barrier that surrounds spaces that are both protected and welcoming :
- using existing topography to visually isolate the separate entities of the embassy, residence and lodging, as «houses» that are placed freely in the landscape.
- putting a priority on the intermingling of landscape and structures : folding curves on façades that bring the landscape into the interior spaces while also forming protected gardens. The narrow entry hall that crosses the embassy, opening broadly onto its garden, recreates a visual sweep of the landscape.
- diminishing the heavy character of the buildings (a result of their compact typology) by rounding out angles, providing a visually sinuous appearance and smoother boundaries for the passage of light. The relative freedom of their geometry also makes it possible to see beyond all façades parallel to the boundaries of the grounds, increasing views of the surrounding landscape and softening the effect of the enclosing walls.
- making the façades permeable to air and light by adding an undulating covering of wooden strips that serves as a solar and visual filter, as well as providing an additional defensive element of protection.
- affirming the environmental identity of the campus : providing the same landscaping and architectural approach, based on wood and stone, consistent with the identity of the French diplomatic campus, with LEED certification demonstrating the use of an environmentally responsible approach.
Tags: Nairobi; Kenya; Embassy; LEED
3-Secondary School in Ouangani, Mayotte Comores
The construction of the Ouangani middle school is part of a large construction program by the Vice-Rectorat de Mayotte. Every year, the government of Mayotte faces the challenge of providing education to thousands of additional students. A target delivery of the 2015 back-to-school season means the school can meet urgent needs, as well as provide additional places so the student population from surrounding middle schools is better distributed.
The Ouangani middle school’s integration into its surrounding landscape is what forms its identity. The ground plain is distributed along an open regulating line: in its geometry, by incorporating view corridors at its extremities, but also in its evolution, to welcome several phases of expansions that will integrate consistently with the first buildings.
The buildings in an L- or U-shape will surround exterior spaces that are sized according to the mood that is sought for them: the school’s esplanade, lower than the entrance hall, itself at double height, playgrounds that are generously landscaped that extend toward the sports areas, «private» patios for the documentation centre and the SEGPA (general and vocational adapted learning section) workshops, etc.
The different heights for the educational buildings - ground floor for the CDI and the SEGPA workshops, GF+1 and GF+2 for the other buildings – makes it possible to have the compactness requested for the project, without «overwhelming» the recreation and landscaped areas with high walls.
The balanced use of cuts and fills on the property comes from the wedging of the ground plane according to topography. The diagonal axes of the courtyards correspond to the steepest slope line, while the plateaus of the earthworks follow the leveling curves.
Tags: School; Mayotte; Ouangani; Comores
4-Cité Internationale de la Tapisserie, Aubusson France
The symbolic dimension of the Cité Internationale de la Tapisserie et de l’Art Tissé matches its ambition: going beyond conservation and exhibitions, preserving a living savoir-faire that is recognized by UNESCO as part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity, and reestablishing Aubusson’s place in the contemporary creative landscape.
The Cité’s contemporary role is part of the radical transformation of the former Ecole National d’Arts Décoratifs, taking advantage of its most important assets: its monumental aspect, the rhythm of its façades, and the quality and luminosity of its interior spaces. It has a new outer shell made of a combination of wooden strips (Douglas-fir from Limousine forests) and printed textile coverings evoking the raw materials of wood in the woodworker’s art and color in tapestry.
With its international influence, the Cité’s calling is to become one of the main symbols of Aubusson. Its visibility in the city, and the concepts used in its entryway take into consideration the different types of people that interact with the structure.
Tags: Aubusson; Tapestry; museum; Unesco