Old sanatorium turned into Clermont-Ferrand School of Architecture

Search results:

Du Besset-Lyon transforms former sanatorium into Clermont-Ferrand School of Architecture

Paris studio Du Besset-Lyon has converted and extended a 1930s sanatorium to create a new school of architecture in the French city of Clermont-Ferrand (+ slideshow).

Clermont Ferrand School of Architecture by du Besset-Lyon architectes urbanistes

Located on the border between a residential neighbourhood and a large area of parkland, the building was originally a medical facility for treating long-term illnesses. Treatments focused on exposing patients to plenty of sunshine and fresh air.

Clermont Ferrand School of Architecture by du Besset-Lyon architectes urbanistes

Having gradually fallen into a state of disrepair, the building was designated for renovation as it was protected by heritage status.

France's Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, which operates 20 architecture schools around the country, invited Du Besset-Lyon to repurpose and expand the existing structure for its new occupants.

Clermont Ferrand School of Architecture by du Besset-Lyon architectes urbanistes

The narrow south-facing building that previously housed the sanatorium was retained and its inner masonry structure was bolstered with a steel frame to ensure it complies with contemporary seismic regulations.

Clermont Ferrand School of Architecture by du Besset-Lyon architectes urbanistes

On the building's north side, the architects added a bulkier extension that contains auditoriums, exhibition spaces, a library and a cafeteria.

The addition continues the simple visual language of the original building and aims to retain its connection with the surrounding landscape – both qualities that the architects regarded as a positive example for the students.

Clermont Ferrand School of Architecture by du Besset-Lyon architectes urbanistes

However, while the sanatorium isolated patients and provided maximum exposure to the southern sun, the extension offers plenty of opportunities for interaction and controls the amount of light reaching the interior.

Clermont Ferrand School of Architecture by du Besset-Lyon architectes urbanistes

"The sanatorium took advantage of the south orientation and separated the occupants by gender and wealth," architect Dominique Lyon told Dezeen. "The new construction hosts young people full of energy who are hypnotised by screens. They need to mingle and keep out of the sun."

Clermont Ferrand School of Architecture by du Besset-Lyon architectes urbanistes

The addition contains the main entrance, above which the architects installed large mirrored panels that function as a heliotrope to amplify light and views.

Clermont Ferrand School of Architecture by du Besset-Lyon architectes urbanistes

"Symbolically the patients entered from the north to be directed toward the sun, hoping to be cured," Lyon explained. "Since this building has radically changed its functions, we wanted the sun to illuminate the north facade where the students enter."

Clermont Ferrand School of Architecture by du Besset-Lyon architectes urbanistes

The building's southern elevation has been adapted so that, instead of rows of patient rooms, it now contains circulation areas that provide an insulating barrier to protect the rest of the interior from overheating.

Clermont Ferrand School of Architecture by du Besset-Lyon architectes urbanistes

"The south facade of the school is transformed into a promenade that gives views on the panorama and states the territorial stature of the building," Lyon added. "This 100-metre circulation constitutes a buffer zone for the studios that face north."

Clermont Ferrand School of Architecture by du Besset-Lyon architectes urbanistes

The school's main social spaces are accommodated on the ground floor, where a large foyer is flanked by a multipurpose hall on one side and the library on the other.

Clermont Ferrand School of Architecture by du Besset-Lyon architectes urbanistes

A short set of steps leads to a landing from which a curving steel staircase ascends to the levels above.

Clermont Ferrand School of Architecture by du Besset-Lyon architectes urbanistes

The landing accommodates a cafeteria space positioned in front of glazed doors that open onto a bridge connecting the school building with the surrounding parkland.

Photography is by Axel Dahl.


Project credits:

Client: Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication
Structural engineers: KHEPHREN Ingénierie
HVAC engineering: ESPACE TEMPS
Economist: JC DRAUART
Acoustic expert: JP LAMOUREUX
Infrastructure engineers: ATPI INFRA
Fire security expert: CASSO & ASSOCIES

Clermont Ferrand School of Architecture by du Besset-Lyon architectes urbanistes
Site plan – click for larger image
Clermont Ferrand School of Architecture by du Besset-Lyon architectes urbanistes
Ground floor plan – click for larger image
Clermont Ferrand School of Architecture by du Besset-Lyon architectes urbanistes
First floor plan – click for larger image
Clermont Ferrand School of Architecture by du Besset-Lyon architectes urbanistes
Second floor plan – click for larger image