Text description provided by the architects. The existing middle school was built in the seventies. It is located within a remarkable landscaped environment.
The middle school and most specifically the extension that will be used for the school restaurant and multi-activity room is adjacent to stone quarries within a beautiful wooded area filled with oak trees.The remnants of stone extractions give this green space an original trait that the project must underline and highlight.
Quarries exploitation has molded a landscape of small cliffs with irregular cuts and hollow spaces forming ponds. Between the quarries and the middle school we can see woods of oak trees.
The street front is lined with individual houses set on large and landscaped lands. The general feeling emerging from the existing buildings is the great presence of these natural spaces. The project will focus on reinforcing the links between the middle school and its environment.
The architectural bet for the extension was to create a frame for this beautiful landscape. Through simple geometric elements, the project will create strong ties between the wooded areas and the school buildings.
The volumes of the new buildings were designed in order to create a minimum of frontage on the outside: with a square-like built. This concept also limits the surfaces of thermal exchanges for the walls.
First of all, the restaurant will be implanted on a Southwest-Northeast axis, along the building which is hosting the actual cafeteria and on the existing outside parking. It creates a clear frontier between the spaces deserving the school and the classrooms. It represents a clear cutting while getting the students closer to the wooded areas, delimiting a second playground along the aisle harboring the classrooms.
The multi-activity room will be implanted on the street achieving three objectives:
-Ensuring a direct and simple access street side without needing to go through the school spaces.
-Delimiting the interior patio space which benefits the administrative areas of the school.
-Finally, it gives the middle school a real public equipment facade.
The covered courtyard and rooftop advances over the entrance of the building create a link between the different buildings.
The restaurant is implanted in a manner that the prow of the building is immersed in the woods. The layout of the extension over the site allows a minimal deforestation. The restaurant’s gable is very largely open, creating a very strong tie between the interior spaces and the forest of oak trees. The exit frontage is full of windows, thus creating a transparence into the depth of the building between the covered courtyard and the woods.
The architectural character of the new buildings underlines the exceptional surrounding landscape: the walls are made of shuttered concreteand precast reinforced concrete panels, sketching full and hollow large bas-relief shapes similar to the natural quarries. These walls, via different protruding elements, create overcast shadows more or less important according to the various depths between the panels.
The exterior joinery elements will be in thermo-sprayed aluminum tinted charcoal gray.
The tint of the concrete is made to be as similar as possible to the color of the quarries. The lighting will be dispensed in two manners:
- Either by rifts between the concrete panels,
- Or by metallic volumes inserted between these volumes. These lighting boxes will be thermo-sprayed in rust color for a matte finish getting closer to the color of the oak tree and pine trunks.