Education

Reinventing an old classic

A former 1930s sanatorium takes on a new role as a School of Architecture

by Nick Myall 23 November 2015
  • Du Besset – Lyon Click image to expand

    Du Besset – Lyon

  • Du Besset – Lyon Click image to expand

    Du Besset – Lyon

  • Du Besset – Lyon Click image to expand

    Du Besset – Lyon

  • Du Besset – Lyon Click image to expand

    Du Besset – Lyon

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    The French office Du Besset – Lyon has just completed the transformation of a former 1930s sanatorium into a School of Architecture located in Clermont-Ferrand, France. 

    The rational spirit of this perfect example of a functional building has been restated to create a model of coherent architecture for future students. The ideal relationship between construction and nature is restated to nestle the new school of architecture into greenery, while the sun is received on all the façades thanks to a monumental mirror that reflects the illuminated landscape.

    In order to preserve the rational spirit of the existing building, the project has become a pure reconversion with the main architectural concept of the Sanatorium restated.

    The project consists of five points:

    The building is isolated in a vast landscape. This ideal relationship between construction and nature is restated. Nature regains its unity, it surrounds the building and, linked to the landscape, it acquires a territorial dimension.

    At times, the sanatorium isolated the patients; today, it hosts social activities. The essential student gatherings are located on the ground floor in connected spaces.

    The sun was the reason of existence of the sanatorium that was oriented towards the south. Du Besset - Lyon interpreted this distinctive feature: The main entry, situated on the North façade is no longer considered as a back shadowy side of the South façade. It receives the sun thanks to a monumental mirror that reflects the illuminated landscape. On each level, the horizontal circulation is placed on the South side of the building and serves as a thermal barrier protecting the studios from the sunlight.

    The narrowness of the building also becomes useful. On each level the main circulation is placed along the south side of the building. There is now an open panoramic view taking the long walkway.

    Finally, the sanatorium had to be adapted to meet fire and seismic regulations. The existing structure in masonry has been doubled for seismic reasons by a substantial steel structure. A fire security passage now runs along southern façade and coordinates the relationship between the building and the terrace garden.

     

    Nick Myall

    News Editor

    France
    Sector Education

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