Architect’s Statement: The task was to transform a sanatorium, built in 1930’s, into a School of Architecture. The Sanatorium is a perfect example of functional architecture, and it has to change radically its function.
In order to preserve the rational spirit of the existing building and to create a model of a coherent architecture for the future students, our project becomes a pure reconversion: we restated the main architectural concept of the Sanatorium.
The project consists of 5 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. We 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 becomes of a use. On each level the main circulation is placed along the South side of the building. One can enjoy an exceptionally open panoramic view taking the long walkway.
The sanatorium is a rational architecture that had to be adapted to the actual fire and seismic regulations. The existing structure in masonry has been doubled for seismic reasons by a substantial steel structure. The fire security passage runs along southern façade and coordinates the relationship between the building and the terrace garden.
Location: Old sanatorium Sabourin, Clermont-Ferrand, France
Area: 11 500 m²
Client: Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication
Architects: du Besset-Lyon
Photographs: Axel Dahl