archi5 completes new workshop building for school in Upper Normandy
The Marcel Sembat high school in Sotteville-lès-Rouen has the particularity to be crossed by a street and so is separated in two parts reconnected by a bridge building. A public park is located straight on the south side of the site. The entire school is divided in six buildings of different periods, from 30's to 90's. The project is a rehabilitation and an extension of the high school.
The biggest part of this project, the one that gives his visual identity, is the new workshops building. This part of the Marcel Sembat High School is dedicated to technical teaching about motors and vehicle mechanics. It demands big spaces with high heights and important surfaces. archi5 opted for a simple and easily understandable project, including workshops at the park with smooth lines which are connected to the park floor with their declivity. The architects proposed the demolition of two buildings, the reorganisation of the workshops and the teaching spaces of industrial technology, gathering in a single building unit all functions related to the workshops.
The building starts at the boundary of the park and fits naturally to the site by the wavy design of its vegetated roof to varying curves and low height. The slight oscillations reveal the fringes of a park in motion in the trees shades. The main ideas of the proposal are to find a unity and identity of the school in the whole site while integrating and connecting the high school and the park with the particular shape of the 'blades'. The architects also wanted to create a public space around the crossing street by making a great plaza in front of the new workshops building.
Finally, the purpose was restoring the views and transparency to the outdoors, as well as perspectives on public space and landscapes. For that the architects used glass and translucent polycarbonate on the frontages. They also created some little patios between the 'blades' to make skylights. The unity between the two sites around the crossing street is ensured by the creation of a new public space which will be surrounded by a new library on the east side.
This future 'plaza' will serve as a meeting space, a walking or restoring area and the main access way to the high school. The new workshops were completed in early 2011 and students and professors have taken possession of their new spaces since the beginning of scholar year in September.