16.12.2013

Collège du Mont d’Hor à St Thierry

We did meet a site… up on the hill unvisible from the main road, the piece of land we were to build on was backed up by the existing school in the village but off its limits in the champaign vinyards.

The surrounding country side is delightfull, the vision extends far across the facing rolling hills. On one side a few houses protude from the village like a fading last urban attempt towards the vinyards, but a failed one. On the other side the vinyards get lost in the hills and clouds. Compared to the rest of the village the existing school is angled ackwardly within the trees.

The first visit was crucial, it deeply rooted a few intentions. The main one was to scale of the school according to the few following conditions. We knew we needed to complete the last urban attempt of colonization on one side for the school entrance, to connect with the existing, to form a courtyard and lower the scale to the facing landscape.

So the challenge was to manage all these intentions of scales in one coherent building. We defined angles and limits so that the connection with the the existing would be as natural a transition in terms of scale and geometry as can be, we made it a matching and simple continuity materialized with the material we used. The break of scale angle to the landscape allows the high entrance façade to be invisible from the facing hills. The High part facing the village houses classrooms and teachers rooms while the low part facing thé landscape houses administration and restauration.

From a certain angle the angle appears like some optical illusion, it seems impossible to imagine it does contain a fonction, it is reduced to two lines, one indication of height and one of lenght, floating on a rythmed shade.  The entrance zinc façade is folded to a roof, the roof is folded in such a way that it slowly vanishes as it reaches the vinyards. It is planned in such a way that only pure and degressive lines of roofs show up.

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