On the site of the CHU d’Estaing teaching hospital, the shape of the new teaching and research unit (UFR) and dental care centre building (CSD) is designed to make the 2 activities and units instantly distinguishable. The architectural project had to overcome a twofold difficulty: it had to give the new project a very clear identity of its own on an altogether different scale next to the CHU d’Estaing, while also offering a unique building asserting the existence of two readily identifiable and distinguishable entities. Two programmes and a building with enough presence to form a consistent frontage. The frontage is always the main feature, even from the rear of the hospital.
The slope on the land is used to handle the main street entrance to the UFR on the lower ground floor, and a direct access from the hospital to the lecture theatre on the upper ground floor. The base of the UFR is held together by a large crossing space of twice the height, the entrance hall and the lecture theatre, linking up all the spaces, including with direct access to the lecture theatre from the CHU d’Estaing. The patios running through the volumes of the UFR and the dental care centre help one find one’s way around the spaces with extra-comfortable lighting through natural daylight.
The teaching and research unit (UFR) comprises a partial base on which rest on the north side of the plot three platforms slightly offset with respect to each other and the volume of the care centre to the south.
The dynamic cutout expression of the units makes the associated activities immediately obvious without taking anything away from their monolithic intensity. A continuous glittering monochrome curtain comprising 48,000 aluminium spheres threaded onto a stainless steel wire enshrouds the discontinuous buildings in a continuous fluid movement. This weblike filter helps to subdue the lighting and the views.
The dental care centre (Centre de Soins Dentaire, CSD) is set on just one level, lending its volume a degree of autonomy within the overall unit. The dental care rooms are arranged on either side of a reception hall lit by a patio.
A metal grid made up of several thousand floating spheres hanging outside the frontages gives the unit a fluid, mobile outline. Two programmes and an architecture with enough strength and presence to form a coherent building frontage, a main façade extension to the CHU d’Estaing.