Text description provided by the architects. L’internat de la réussite (Nowadays French political communication term for a boarding school) is built on the grounds of the Henri Parriat High School in Montceau-les-Mines, France. The boarding school houses two different kinds of housing:
- A house for pre-high school diploma students with 11 rooms of 4 beds, 1 room for disabled person and 2 rooms for supervisors.
- A house for post high school diploma students with 65 individual rooms including 2 rooms for disabled persons.
- Some common rooms, toilets and technical rooms.
The conception of the project was influenced by the program constraints: short timing for the construction, functionality of the building and respect of the urban rules. The fundamental part of the conception remains turned toward integration of the project in the site in 2D and 3D.
The physical separation of the two bodies (pre high school diploma house / post high school diploma house) has to be recognizable in the final outcome of the project. This idea is translated in a two-body building, one following the street on the south, and one at a right angle creating a background and a limit to the high school grounds.
The crossing point of the two parts of the building house the elevator and an outside staircase for emergencies use only.
1. – General volume
The two volumes balance each other in a subtle play of construction line. To the regular facade along the southern street front and facing the high school playground on the west, answer the broken lines of the opposite facades (north & east), which enrich the volume dynamic. This general morphology resounds with existing buildings, writing in continuity with the founding lines of the site, enriching the general dynamic and procuring qualities to the interior spaces.
2. – The facades
The writing of the facades support the volume dynamic, by a game with different kinds of materials and contrast in relation to the cardinal directions. The south & west façade, the heart of the high school are designed with wood, colors and solar protections while the north and eastern facades become outer layers, protective concrete shells.
On the south & west front, balconies induced by the structural grid ensure solar & rain protection for the façade: wood timber frame & square wooden sections. This writing on the south & west façade translates alternatively the opening of the building either toward the heart of the high school or the city. The boarding school is open to the high school and participates in the educational dynamic of the high school. The conception of the ground floors translates this attitude: the entrances are easily recognizable nested under the cantilever.
On the east and the north, on the contrary, the facade are “closed”, still dynamic, by the inflexions and movements of the broken lines of the walls. The different textures of the pre-cast concrete walls reinforce this effect between the textured aspect, which catch the shadow, and the luminous softness of the smooth ones. The building lives along the rhythm of the different daylights.
3. The outer spaces
The outer spaces participate in the functionality and the living environment of the boarding school: - The deck of the activity room is the principal exterior space, friendly and unifying. Its position, in the heart of the buildings, is a symbol to the quality of collective life in the school. - The covered squares, under the cantilever, are transition spaces, between outside and inside, a major asset in its functionality.
4. Inside spaces
Beyond demands, we gave the inside spaces of collective life more than asked so that common activities and intimacy could live side by side. The common spaces are designed in that way, even the corridors become pleasant and generous. The bedrooms, common or individual, allow everyone to meet, work, sleep and appropriate some intimate space.
5. Materials, textures and colors.
The materials used answer to different objective while following the architectural proposal. The principal purpose was to use construction process that could reduce the construction timing:
- The concrete facades are built with pre-cast isolated concrete walls: this process ensures quick building; they provide successful outer isolation by an excellent control on thermal bridges. Consequently, this quality saves time for later parts of the construction. These façade have excellent finished aspect, either textured or smooth, and a great durability.
- The timber frame structure façade are designed for the West and the South, always protected by a concrete frame to ensure their durability. The prefabrication of these panels also participates in the time reducing objective of the construction.
We are looking far more behind these qualities to inscribe this project in the history of the high school and the city by a long lasting architectural testimony full of rigor and simplicity. It’s a project designed for the students, giving them a modern, functional and warm living environment.