Chrystelle Sanaa's Municipal Technical Centre
is clad in thin strips of cedar

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A timber-clad box punctuated by narrow windows rests on top of a stone wall to form this extension to a municipal facility near Montpellier, France, by local architect Chrystelle Sanaa (+ slideshow).

Chrystelle Sanaa created the Municipal Technical Centre by extending series of recently completed buildings on the edge of French commune Saint-Jean-de-Védas.

St Jean de Vedas Technical Center extension by Chrystelle Sanaa

The new facility accommodates the town's technical and urban planning services, which had previously been housed at a temporary workplace elsewhere.



As a result of this, Chrystelle Sanaa was tasked with designing a building that could be erected quickly. She was also asked to come up with a design that is clearly distinguishable from the adjoining concrete structure.

St Jean de Vedas Technical Center extension by Chrystelle Sanaa

She proposed a prefabricated wooden building that sits on a concrete foundation, which was constructed by a local carpenter in just seven months. The use of prefabricated timber also helped to reduce disruption on the busy site.

St Jean de Vedas Technical Center extension by Chrystelle Sanaa

The plot flanks a major road and marks the entrance to the facility, so the architect added a stone feature wall facing the access road, referencing the vine terraces typically found in the Montpellier region.

St Jean de Vedas Technical Center extension by Chrystelle Sanaa

A canopy that cantilevers from two edges of the building is lined on its underside with the same spruce cladding as the facades.

St Jean de Vedas Technical Center extension by Chrystelle Sanaa

The narrow windows punctuating the exterior can be covered by sliding across wooden shutters, preventing direct sunlight reaching the interior.

St Jean de Vedas Technical Center extension by Chrystelle Sanaa

The ground floor of the building is open to the public and contains a reception area, offices and a connecting passage to the adjacent building.

St Jean de Vedas Technical Center extension by Chrystelle Sanaa

The two upper storeys house the offices and workspaces, with bold graphics applied to the walls and doors to aid navigation.

St Jean de Vedas Technical Center extension by Chrystelle Sanaa

Photography is by Marie-Caroline Lucat.


Project Credits: 

Architect: Chrystelle Sanaa
Carpenter: MLS Construction Bois, Mèze, France
Client: City of Saint-Jean-de-Védas

St Jean de Vedas Technical Center extension by Chrystelle Sanaa
Site plan – click for larger image
St Jean de Vedas Technical Center extension by Chrystelle Sanaa
Ground floor plan – click for larger image
St Jean de Vedas Technical Center extension by Chrystelle Sanaa
First floor plan – click for larger image
St Jean de Vedas Technical Center extension by Chrystelle Sanaa
Second floor plan – click for larger image
St Jean de Vedas Technical Center extension by Chrystelle Sanaa
Section – click for larger image