The project is located in the middle of two different neighbourhoods. First, the suburban one, at the North, is more dated, with several individual houses. The second one, at the South, is a new eco-district and is more oriented towards social housing. In addition, the project site had a significant elevation. The was no connection between the northern and the southern part of the city. We wanted the school to be the missing link in this city. On top of that, we were confronted with the problem of different types of pupils : from kindergarten to secondary school, including children with special needs.
So we combined all these issues by creating two entrances : one ‘high ground floor’ and one ‘low ground-floor’ on the same facade, connected by large public stairs. High ground floor, to the North, is for kindergarten and special needs children ; low ground floor, to the South, is for secondary school. However, they are all reunited in one compact building and share certain spaces in the heart of the building such as the library, the restaurants, and the motor skills rooms. All the commun areas are open onto two large patios where the kids can meet, go read a book, have lunch or do some gardening.
The compactness of the building allowed us to obtain the Passivhaus label, which means that the building is self-sufficient.
The structure is mixed, both concrete and wood, which we chose to keep exposed. The low ground floor is entirely made of concrete (wall, beams and columns), even the floor is a quartz concrete slab. The high ground floor is entirely in wood. The difference of apparence between the two levels allowed kindergarten and secondary school to have their own identity and helps the pupils to locate inside the building.
For the facade cladding, we used wood and steel (perforated corrugated sheet), in shades of white and light grey. We wanted a bright facade that reflected the sky. On the other hand, we wanted a warm interior, where the children could feel comfortable, with a lot of wood and some graphic designs (especially made by our graphist for this project). Most of the components, including the structure, were prefabricated in factories for efficiency and cost optimization.