This project consists in studying the natural, geological and geometrical topology of the site, and turn it into a multi-purposes building. Two majors stakes are to be considered : water flooding from the river, and energetical autonomy. The first, obvious idea that came to our mind was to design the building on stilts ; however, such constructions are difficult to maintain, complicated to access for guests with disabilities, and its height would hardly blend in the surrounding nature. This is why decided to focus on the following points : matching proportions with the Acle Bridge, landscaping the site as a whole, protect it from floods and ensuring its energetic sustainability. Our design ends up being built, not on stilts, but around them.
The first main idea of our proposal, is to work on topography as an ecological and durable way to protect the site from water flooding. This is done very simply by earthwork, and a concrete layer to solidify its shape.
Trenches are organized through the concrete, to allow water circulation and plants growth, eventually melting the building with nature.
Stilts are distributed throughout the site and have multiple purposes : boat mooring with electrical power supply, structure to support the rooftop, and landscaping inspired from the nearby woods.
The rooftop hosts three programs : solar panels, rainwater retrieving system, and public viewpoint.
The final aspect of our proposal is a very contemporary, non-compromised architectural design, with well balanced proportions, blending in and enhancing the natural beauty of the site.
The programs of this project have been divided in 4 units : the preparatory classes with primary levels, the secondary levels, the amphitheater with the library, and the art and music school. This units are scattered within the building, and can be accessed and used separately while creating a coherent architectural ensemble. The areas between the units are opened to the surrounding nature, but sheltered from the weather and the city. They are used as recreational spaces, but could welcome diverse events, or even be used to extend the existing units if needed in the future.
T-gloo is a steel and wooden craft, sealed in the frozen surface of the lake. Warm and welcoming wooden benches seem to be dug in the iced ground, reminding of a stranded ship.
A white, light steel structure, blending in the winter landscape, supports a an iced ceiling as if it were extracted from the ground. As a warming hut, T-gloo is not only conceived as a resting area, but also aims to propose a fuller experience of the surrounding nature.
Sitting seventy meter deep into the ice, eye level falls down to the lake's surface. Framed by the steel elements, the landscape is revealed under new perspectives. Textures of wood and metal play hot and cold, echoing both the forest and the frozen water around.
Natural daylight wanders through the iced ceiling and the graphic steel structure, drawing sparkles and shadows on the installation and it's occupants.
WWI Memorial / Nottingham
At first glance, the memorial appears like a scar in the earth . Four heavy concrete slabs seem ripped off the innocent lawn, forming deep trenches into the ground. As one walks down a trench and gets closer to this mysterious structure, the weight of the concrete seems threatening .
This path wanders further under ground level, eventually meeting a multitude of thin and delicate columns, planted in dark, rough clay. Despite their reedy appearance, they are the ones lifting the enormous bulks above them. Slim rays of natural light sneak between the concrete blocks, and laboriously reach the black earth, while faint beams of lightning rise from the ground and highlight each pillar creating a dark but soft atmosphere.
The columns bear the names of the numerous victimspf WWI . As these thousands of tragedies and witnesses slowly roll into the past, the columns stand like an army, as a fierce and timeless tribute to their sacrifices . Leaving the main path, a stroll through the monument unfolds more pillars, more names. Walking between them, taking shelter among them in this peaceful and detailed setting, brings a sense of intimacy to the experience.
it is no longer about remembering the past : it becomes part of our introspection on our present and future, on how we perceive our world in light of what happened. The building is merely the vehicle of memory for everyone to explore, honor, and pass on .
ONE WAY OR AN OTHER
«One way or another» wishes to embody a meditation on movements.
In continuity of the lifeguard stand, a wooden platform stands as an elevated horizon line. This level can be reached thanks to four staircases oriented in various directions, or through the lifeguard stand itself.From the lifeguard you can watch, examine all the migration through the different stairs. From all edges of the structure, hangs a white, translucent veil.
Echoing the lifeguard stand’s initial purpose, the platform serves as a viewpoint on surrounding nature, and might also be used by wildlife as a perch or a shelter on their way. The staircases spark curiosity, and invite to exploration. They offer many angles and ways, to come from or to go to, not only up and down also but north to west, east to south... human «micro-migrations» occur through the installation, allowing to discover different points of views on the landscape, as well as on the structure itself. The white veil concealing the ground floor sheds a touch of mystery. Light and fluid, it moves along with the wind, and makes the installation look as if it was breathing. Ideas of movements, exploration, natural elements, safety, civilization and wilderness all cross here.
The choice of materials, wood and cotton, is designed to blend into nature and be recycled once the installation is removed. Staircases are hollow and can also serve as shelters to display cultural or artistic mini-exhibitions.
ANTEPAVILLION / LONDON
This pavillion is designed to offer its visitors a unique experience of time and space. Echoing the history of the barge, which is linked to the destructive explosion of 1874, a spectacular wooden structure mimicks an underwater explosion, as if it was frozen in time. In the midst of all this apparent chaos, a light, transparent greenhouse shelters flowers, and a chessboard. The chessboard, and the plants invite to focus and meditate, contrasting the sense of emergency suggested by the surrounding "explosion". Deeper in the boat's hold, an observation space offers a unique point of view on the surroundings, through the wooden explosion.
VISITOR CENTER / SEVENOAKS
This «ribbon» buidling is imagined as a vehicle from civilization to wildlife. From the entrance through rehabilitated existing structures, to the «suspended» first floor and its wide open-air galleries, the visitor enjoys multiple experiences and points of views on surrounding nature. While being an architectural statement in itself, the main purpose of this Visitor’s Center is to enhance, and connect to the beauty of its natural surroundings, blending in the wildlife of the reserve, preserving it. The Site was converted from gravel to nature reserve and the «ribbon» building transform the existing building into a educational / science building for everyone.
The very simple and flexible, yet visually striking idea of the suspended gallery has many advantages :
- minimizing footprint of the building, based on existing structures
- providing shelter and shadow to wildlife such as bats, or various animals and plants
- allowing the visitors to discover the site both from ground and a higher point of view
- playing with indoors/outdoors sequences on both levels of the building
The elongated shape of the building also has its purposes :
- it is designed to fit in the geography and typology of the site, from one pound to the other
- it provides endless views of surrounding nature and multiples perspectives
- its many windows and openings optimize daylight income and reduce energy expenses
- it ensures smooth and efficient circulation through programs
- it allows access to everyone including wheelchairs and strollers, thanks to the long access ramp
- all services are included in the suspended floors. This ensures maximum flexibility on how to organize various programs within the building, and also would allow easy modifications/extensions in the future if desired.
- this flexibility is also key to control budget
- solar panels can be installed on rooftops.
- access to the first floor is granted both by stairs and access ramp.
Wood & Brick
Typical from this area, with its «earthy» texture and look, brick is used on the first floor. The suspended gallery looks like a brick ribbon waving through the trees. Its warm tone of red will respond to nature’s colors in every season : contrasting with deep greens in spring, matching autum’s orange and yellow... The wood used on the structure and ground floor blends in the forest , enhancing the brick’s bold colors.
This association of materials gives the building a strong visual impact, while being perfectly integrated in the forest.
Entering through the rehabilitated existing building, visitors have immediate access to basic facilities : welcome desk, retail space, bathroom. From this point, different itineraries are suggested, depending on the visitor’s interest : the educational path, the restaurant, the wellbeing center... All located on the first floor, they offer different settings and points of view on surrounding nature. The same visitor can come many times to the center, and still discover new features of the building and the reserve, depending on the season and the purpose of his visit.
JARDIN DU PONT-NEUF PROJECT
This project is one of many challenges and paradoxes. Besides its initial vocation as a prayer and contemplation sanctuary, the Church needs new ways to fit into the contemporary life of the city, and new income sources to survive. This implies a subtle articulation of sacred and profane, spiritual and material, secular architecture and new elements of design, in the same space.
Our primary research focus was on the existing building, its purpose and how it was designed. One of the main concerns of churches building before the XXth century, was how one priest’s voice would reach the whole audience in such a big space. Without the technology we now have, natural light was also something to capitalize on. Therefore, geometry and materials used on the construction were chosen to convey sound, and stained-glass windows were decorated with pious messages. The idea is to make contemporary the basic idea of a church that transmits a message by reusing and reinventing traditional techniques and geometries. This would allow the creation of a place out of the ordinary.This very specific « sound design » of a church makes it a great place to host concerts, or conferences for exemple.
With this in mind, we worked on a structure that would allow multiple combinations of settings, making the church’s space suitable for hosting various events. The guiding principle of our design is to preserve and enhance the existing architecture, by using its curves and shapes in a completely independant, yet intricate wooden structure which shall blend into them.
In this wooden structure located in the aisles of the church there are two levels. On the ground floor there are spaces that can be rented for associations, markets, cultural spaces, this continuous space has been designed in a removable way to allow great freedom of decision in the church.
Upstairs there is the creation of balconies, which allow the public coming to attend a prayer or a concert to come and sit or artists come to play to enjoy the sound of the church.
In the other building that would have to be developed, three programs would be considered to interest other investor and bring a rental income to the church. The idea is to combine the entire building around the same people. That’s why we propose to put student rooms on the upper floor which will allow a regular rental income, and on the ground floor a restaurant (which could be partly managed by the students who sleep over), a space for the diocese and for artists who come to perform in the Church. Bathrooms for the student housing are also programmed on the ground floor.
The difficulty of this project generates its interest, How to integrate a contemporary architecture in a church? How to enable the church to survive financially? How to adapt a for-profit program in a religious space? Our answer is to go back and understand the geometric shapes and the role of the churches since their creations for the reinterpreted in a contemporary way.