Institution Notre Dame, France
Copyright: Philippe Ruault
Institution Notre Dame, France
Copyright: Philippe Ruault
Institution Notre Dame, France
Copyright: Philippe Ruault
Institution Notre Dame, France
Copyright: Philippe Ruault
Institution Notre Dame, France
Copyright: Philippe Ruault
Institution Notre Dame, France
Copyright: Philippe Ruault

Institution Notre Dame, France

10 december 2021
Project: Institution Notre Dame, Chartres | France
Architect: SBBT Architecture, Paris | France
Fabricator: TIM Composites, Cholet | France
Installer: BARCO étanchéité, Semoy | France
Façade System: Tray Panels on bolts
Year of Construction: 2020
Product: ALUCOBOND® PLUS sparkling White Silver MG
Photos:  Philippe Ruault

LEARNING FROM LIGHT

An educational career, from the first day to final qualifications, usually means changing school several times. Institution Notre Dame in Chartres, a private Roman Catholic school in France, wants to offer children continuity and social stability in a learning environment covering all levels of education. This explains why the school campus comprises pre-school, primary, secondary and grammar schools alongside the vocational training college. However, the notion of unity and identity which links the school community together all through childhood and adolescence was not communicated by the buildings on this campus. They were examples of the architecture in their era and had been constructed over a period of several decades. In addition, there are also classrooms in temporary demountable structures waiting to move into more permanent accommodation. Right in the middle of this architectural mix, renowned Parisian architects, Berthelier and Tribouillet, set about constructing a two-storey multi-purpose building. Located at the street corner on what used to be open land, it has unified the two southern rows of buildings into a single unit, providing space for numerous different purposes in a building with a surface area of only 745 m², as required. These include a new reception area with adjoining auditorium, a sickbay, chapel, media centre, and art and music classrooms. A building with special functions also requires a special design. The shimmering white ALUCOBOND® façade stands out from the hi-tech steel façades on neighbouring buildings. Positioned vertically or horizontally, the rectangular tray panels connect to form a silver-white exterior in front of a façade structure which is sufficiently thick to cover both the reinforced concrete walls and state-of-the-art insulation materials. The design is characterised by its light colour and substantial volume, a result of the architects setting the dark-framed windows deep into the façade and folding some of the light-coloured ALUCOBOND® tray panels outwards to produce gentle pyramid forms. Depending on the quality of light, the way it falls and where the viewer is standing, the folded sparkling White Silver surface responds by creating varying tones and moods. The architect writes: “Light is a material that contributes to the health of every human being in (inhabited) spaces.” In this respect, the exhilarating interplay of light, shadow and reflection is simply good for both spirit and psyche, and it inspires us to see things in a different light.




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