Architects: XTO architectes
Location: Lyon, France
Architects: JY Godot, Jean Delacroix, Pierre Dumas
Client: Centre Régional des Oeuvres Universitaires et Sociales de Lyon
Area: 2,520 sqm
Photographs: Studio Erick Saillet
The university restaurant is located on the Rockefeller Medical School’s campus in Lyon. The building hosting the students’ restaurant is in recently redeveloped area. It is surrounded by a large square that offers leisure space from which one gets a wide point of view on the building. The perception of the students’ restaurant is thus emphasized.
The volumetry translates a functional conception totally dedicated to the specific needs of its function, collective catering. Over 2000 guest come on a daily base for lunch. The restaurant includes three different lunchrooms:
- A students’ hall with a capacity of 800 seats
- A staff room with a capacity of 200 seats
- A VIP/guest hall with a capacity of 50 seats
The size of the site and its “hilly” landscape made the conception of the project a challenge. Therefore, each level is committed to its function. The lower level is used for food prepping, guest entrance and administration offices. The mid level houses the self and two of the principal lunch halls. The students’ hall is structured by two mezzanines, which participate in its spatial quality by reducing highness. The upper level is restricted for VIP guest. Its wide terrace overlooking the campus is highly appreciated during nice season and for special events.
The specific construction materials highlight this game of volumes and main tension lines of structure: The base, built in raw concrete, translates a dark impression of mass. The main tension lines of structure are built with perfectly white precast concrete panels, an excellent quality finished surface that supports the dominant white colour of the project. Some naturally finished precast textured concrete panels make the contrast.
Natural light generously illuminates the different rooms with large bay windows. Wooden sun breakers are fixed on each exposed windows to keep the space cool and subdued if necessary. All the material ensures a coherent architectural image that let each of the four facades answer to their immediate environment. Sometimes totally open on the square and the guest entrance, in the south and west direction. With rhythm and syncopation to filter the views on the trees of the park, in the north direction. On the upper part of the site, along Volney Street, the more horizontal part of the project respects the general shape of the neighbouring library.
The building is a landmark on the site, highlighted by the main staircase. This principal component of the project is essential to manage the flow of people. Its volume translates its function: the physical link between levels. It works as a visual sign on the site. The vertical and horizontal lines reinforce the dynamic of its perception. The red colour inside gives depth to this vision. Its existence is there to manage the sequence and distribution of function between public accessible spaces and functional working spaces. The dark volume of the kitchen laundry reinforces this horizontal rhythm.