The project is located at the heart of a city block in a school playground. The new volume extends an existing school building up the slope of the passageway that leads onto the site, and settles itself onto the playground’s sloping surface. The building is accessed from the street by passing through a porte-cochère that opens onto a passageway. From here the southernmost end of the building can be seen in all its verticality. This stretched volume signals the presence of the dance centre. The building’s pale facade of hand-made brick fits well with the creams and beiges of the neighbouring buildings. Rather than breaking with the context, the building fits into the existing stone-coloured environment, at the same time underlining its own presence with its eye-catching volumes and natural materials. Surrounding homes look over the steeply pitched roofscape with its glazed white tiles, a dancing sculpture of changing colours as sunlight plays across the undulating dance studio roofs. As you walk up the passageway, large windows give views into the heart of the building’s organisation; horizontal and vertical circulation spaces provide generous reception areas and spaces for meeting people, waiting and relaxing between classes. These uses are visible from outside, comings and goings are theatricalised, different activities meet and a relationship with the town is developed. The ambiance inside is hushed. Soft lighting is tinted by oiled oak and the clay-rendered walls. On the ceiling a piece by artist Marie Maillard evokes nature, the sun, the movements of dance and the hum of music. These circulation spaces contrast with the white, light-filled practice rooms. On the ground floor overlooking the playground, two openings are provided into each music room. A large square window frames views of planting at the rear of the site. Its high level sill screens views in from the playground and separates the view from the bustle. A small opening for ventilation hidden behind brick screens allows for manual adjustments to the temperature in the room. The dance studios on the first floor have wide windows that come down to the floor, overlooking the playground. Large glazed skylights for ventilation bring in extra diffuse light and highlight the asymmetric ceiling that is particularly suitable for use in a dance studio.
The available buildable area and the required surface area have generated a very dense building volume. The project fits into the site’s constructible area. The eaves are under 9m (7.5m). The building’s footprint (29m x 13.45m) is approximately that of the demolished rectangular covered playground area. The potential energy savings of this density have been exploited, whilst the volume’s massiveness has been visually broken down to lighten the building's presence in this built-up area. The main architectural principal here was to highlight the building’s verticality as much as possible. The dance studios are visible within the overall volume of the extension with their two large roof spaces. The building fits into the context with an average height in relation to its neighbours. Rather than breaking with the context the building fits well into the existing environment, while it uses its volumetric presence to draw the attention. The highest roof ridge rises to 14m from ground level and the second highest to 12.4m. The third roof volume links the extension with the existing Lully building. It is lower to avoid blocking views from rooms in the existing building.
The surrounding buildings exhibit a spectrum of pale colours, from the white-beige of the Lully-Vauban school buildings and the apartment building to the west of the site, to the ochre of the residential building located by the porte-cochère entrance. These buildings are all made of traditional masonry with zinc roofs. The neighbouring residential building has a red brick street facade. The boundary wall alongside the entrance passageway begins in light brown stone, and then becomes ochre and orange bricks. The project’s intention is to fit in, to integrate itself into this existing environment. Settling into this context, the new building’s envelope is in pale terracotta (white-beige), with a brick facade and glazed tiles on the roof. The roof and facade colour are similar (pale) to give the building an overall homogeneity. A play of brickwork using three different patterns enlivens the facades. The word ‘CONSERVATOIRE’ has been picked out on the southern facade in projecting bricks. Only the low sloping roof panels have been covered in a cream-coloured zinc. They visually link to the existing building. The gutters are also in zinc. Exterior window frames on both the facade and the roof are in varnished oak on the street side and limed oak where the openings are recessed on the street and playground sides of the building. Because most of the windows are fixed the frames are not visible, except those that are flush with the facade that give onto shared interior spaces, thus leaving room to install 40cm deep seats in the thickness of the façade. The glazing in the dance studio window that overlooks the passageway is translucent with a white gradient finish giving views of the sky. Pale coloured micro-perforated sunscreening blinds are set into the frames in the dance and music studios. A small triangular awning shelters the canteen entrance in the corner between the new extension and the Lully school building. It has a steel structure with translucent glazing to allow light into the canteen.
LULLY-VAUBAN DANCE AND MUSIC CONSERVATORY, VERSAILLES
Winner competition 2013 Nominated Terracotta Tile Prize 2016 Archi design club award 2017 Nominated for the primus geste d’or 2017
Eco-responsability : Very low grey energy Low-energy building brick + wood Location : Avenue de Paris, Versailles, France Commission : Public competition Client : c.a. Versailles grand parc Area : 800 m² sdp+ restauration Value: 2.3 m€ ht Date : delivery 2016 Assignment : S. Joly & P.E. Loiret, mandatory architects. basic mission + ehq + landscape Team : OTCE idf (engineer), Vincent Hedont (acoustic consultant) Project managers : Benoît Zeimett (public competition), Aude Lerpiniere (studies)