A gorgeous Le Corbusier style high school thoroughly redesigned through a disruptive 'pedagogical architecture' concept with respect to the original architecture.
It was one of the most beautiful high schools in France. Designed like a Xenakis symphony with large volumes hovering over the ground, in which that light emanating from the arrangement of white concrete brise-soleils was so magical it seemed like it could give life to pure and raw space. But the harmony wasn’t complete. In 1968 France, a boarding school was a place of frigid severity, rather than one for nurture and blossom, or for values and reference building. No intimacy, no reading spaces, and terrible thermal efficiency. To renovate it was a way to continue the story, to explore the potential of the building until its soul was revealed, and to create indoor areas where life and inspiration would flow. After developing ‘pedagogical architecture’ for years, at the crossroad between semiotics and architecture, we attempted to use the potency of space to serve youngsters: their self-discovery and adult development will intuitively be nourished by a new dynamic of relationships, and by their appropriation of a landscape untouched for centuries. It will be fuelled at once by the Modulor-ruled original design and by the life-building guidelines our project incorporated: guaranteed intimacy vs socialisation groups, structure vs freedom, fleeting vs lasting, modern usage vs untimely landscape.
Made of shapes and forms playing in the light, the existing building was raw, pure, coherent in the details and reluctant to modification; the volumes hovered over the ground thanks to an arrangement of Reinforced Concrete Deep Beams stretched into brise-soleils in which, in order to preserve the light, the non insulated windows were sealed with a simple groove...! We've changed it all and lost nothing. The energy consumption fell by two thirds.