Du Besset-Lyon Architectes designed the new National School for Advanced Studies in Architecture in Clermont-Ferrand by renovating a functionalist building from the 30s. The architects were awarded the appointment following a design competition held in 2008, and the renovation was completed in time for the 2015-2016 academic year.
The building stands in a public park, a green area joining the city with the countryside, surrounded by vineyards.
The architects of the studio Du Besset-Lyon Architectes did not want to betray the building’s original principles, and preserved the construction’s relationship with nature and with the sun. To balance the effects of excessive sunshine or its opposite, insufficient light, all the hallways have been moved to the southern side of the building, while a system of mirrors captures sunlight on the northern side.
To create spaces and halls big enough for the building’s new function, which assigns great importance to collective spaces, the old sanatorium’s two monumental staircases were destroyed to make room for a series of common areas arranged in succession along the entrance wall on the ground floor, fully visible from the outside through floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows.
Architect: Du Besset-Lyon Architectes
Location: Clermont-Ferrand – France
Images courtesy of Du Besset-Lyon, photo by Axel Dahl