• fr
  • Epicuria Architectes
    Vulbens (74)

    Vuache middle school

    A bioclimatic building, inspired by local architecture, energy-efficient and scalable over time.

    The aim of the new college and its sports facilities is to create a new educational and sports hub in the Genevan area, with the addition of a sports hall and two multi-activity rooms for local residents. The project, which adjoins an inner-city commercial area and natural spaces, harmonises these ‘dissonant’ elements through a timeless massing inspired by the architecture of the region.

    Composed of three large volumes worked like origami, its cut sections evoke the mountain landscape. The school is built on an east-west axis, protecting it from the noise of the main road and the prevailing winds, while at the same time being open to nature and the mountain landscape. Double-sloped roofs with ridges slightly offset from the buildings offer a contemporary take on the traditional large roofs of Genevan houses. The length of the volumes echoes the sheds and farm buildings of the region. Their reddish-brown colour is reminiscent of local tile roofs, blending harmoniously into the site.

    The building’s massing and structure are simple. The school premises are arranged over two levels, in two linear buildings. The forecourt, treated as a public square, gives it an institutional character and provides a safe space to welcome pupils. The hall serves the strategic points: playgrounds, playground, school life. To the north, a sports complex (sports hall and two multi-activity rooms) is located in a wooded area close to a stream, and can be used independently of the school to accommodate local residents.

    The playground, planted with greenery and essential to the well-being of the schoolchildren, is at the centre of the design. Protected by the buildings, it offers views to the west towards nature and the mountain landscape. Three islands of greenery, planted with benches and steps, provide quieter play areas.

    The materials used in the project were chosen with three objectives in mind: to ensure the longevity of the school, minimise its environmental impact and optimise its integration into the landscape. Zinc, which is infinitely recyclable, ensures the durability of the façade. Wood, which is renewable, structures the building (timber frame, mixed wood-concrete floors and wood-based insulation) and makes it very warm inside. From a bioclimatic point of view, energy consumption and temperature variations in winter and summer are controlled by a number of technical processes: renewable energies, wood-fired heating, regulation of solar gain. Finally, the building is also designed to be adaptable. The partitions between the rooms are not load-bearing, allowing the programme to be changed without having to demolish or rebuild.

    It’s a hybrid building, somewhere between a hall and a landscape, offering a high level of comfort for users and a high level of environmental ambition.

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    2019 – Construction of a middle school for 700 pupils, with ULIS facilities and a sports hall
    10 042 m2
    18,5 M€HT
    Delivered in 2023
    Project management
    Departmental Council of Haute-Savoie
    Epicuria Architectes
    In separate parts
    Label E+C-, level E4C1
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