Architect in ChargeThomas GRENIER
Proyect TeamSancie MATTE, Frédéric DEVAUX, Arnaud ROUSSEAU.
EngineeringP3G, Ingecor, Rouch, Gaxieu, ING Méditerranée
Text description provided by the architects. The boarding house project is a continuation of Philippe Lamour high school: then its design takes into account the logical organization of the existing facilities and must ensure consistency and overall harmony. The area where the building fits, places the project as a figurehead of this big island, position both strategic and symbolic: the facilities plays a special role because it has to be the link between the exterior and the interior. Shared by several schools of Nîmes and physically attached to Philippe Lamour high school, its reception, conviviality and reference character must be emphasized. The precise location of the project reflects this link between public space and high school territory.
Regarding the public space, the project takes into account the existing profile of the high school and particularly the space of the courtyard and of the large canopy which protects it: it allows complementing and strengthening the perspective to give a steep slope to the facade of the high school overlooking the avenue Allende by structuring the currently vacant space of the parking, where the current bicycle sheds are not large enough to do it.
The project consists of a ground floor volume extending lengthwise following the south shore of the land area: by ensuring the building base, this ring beam reflects both the protective and sturdy character by its imprinted rough concrete monolith aspect. The three floors are linked within a flexible volume, lightened by a punctually perforated immaculate wall panel. It bends and moves towards the crossroad resulting in a real call from the general entrance of the high school.
This bending allows controlling the privacy: the building courteously stands aside from the caretaker dwelling existing to the East of the site to open up its view and allows it to benefit from the landscaped area and from the light from the southwest while affording protection against the boarding house. This torsion of the room bodies to the North, also allows a better orientation of the accommodation units and protecting them from the general entrance of the high school.
Regarding the high school, the project is located following the teaching buildings: it respects their overall size and renews perfectly their equidistance and the rhythm which links them. The area between the boarding house and the first building of the high school allows redefining totally the circulation space currently occupied by the bicycle sheds converting it into a landscaped area similar to the one existing in the center of the high school. The pedestrian walks perpetuate the link crossing the diverse teaching entities going to the sports facilities.
Introduced by a gate from the high school courtyard, the pedestrian access to the boarding house leads to a generous courtyard protected from the elements by the part of the floor volume on stilts: this protection largely opens the entrance facade showing clearly its access. The entrance hall benefits from abundant permeability and light, completed by a facade largely open to the inner landscaped area on the high school side: this buffer area has a good orientation to the South and a preserved swale planted with bamboos, which protects it from the wind and provides privacy.
The common areas also benefit from crossed views and are flooded with natural light due to the arrangement of openings, more moderate on the street side, more generous on the inner side. The household has a lot of subareas: generously open to the landscape buffer area to the South overlooking a large terrace, it features a more "cosiness" area towards the TV lounge.
The access to the upper floor leads to a circulation area designed on the same pattern and on which the shared areas open featuring inner large windows. Thus the natural light enters this warm crossing center.
Pedestrian walkways to the rooms are open at their ends with entirely glazed wooden frames serving as an exit to the escape stairs: the natural light coming from East and West in theses walkways reduces the effect of corridor.
The rooms benefit from natural light thanks to a good size central window with glass wall. The Corian facade cladding is studied for privacy and for protecting from strong sunshine. The perforations of this skin, arranged according to the orientations bring a pleasant subdued lighting.
The rooms are rational but their atmosphere is softened with simple, adapted and customizable contemporaneous furniture. Only the adapted rooms have shower rooms for persons with reduced mobility which still benefit from a large size area in front of the sinks and of a built shower block.