Marguerite de Navarre high school

Marguerite de Navarre high school

Marjan Hessamfar & Joe Vérons architectes associés
Pau, 64, South West, France | View Map
Project Year
Secondary Schools
© david helman

Marguerite de Navarre high school

Marjan Hessamfar & Joe Vérons architectes associés as Architects

Introduction: This project involves reorganising and extending « Marguerite de Navarre » High School located at 1 cours Bosquet in Pau (South West France).

The work includes refurbishing the 19th century building; updating the kitchen and canteen to bring them in line with current health and safety standards; renovating the historic classrooms; demolishing a redundant building and constructing a new 3000 sq m extension to house administration, welfare offices, a multi purpose hall and art rooms.

This is a complex project as demolition, construction and renovation works are programmed over a 36 month period whilst the school is still in use.

Giving the school a clear identity within the city: Originally the school playground, a large tarmac area with open views from the street, gave a sense of void in total contrast to the urban continuum of the city around it.

To give the school a strong identity as a main public building within the city, it was paramount to give it a public facade.

The starting point of the project was therefore to position the new building along the pavement at the front of the playground with a main entrance area as focal point.

Today, the new two-storey building hugs the street and clearly defines the limits of the school grounds. The main entrance is through a large opening in the facade. It is set back from the boundary, protected from the street and entirely glazed to bring a good deal of natural light into the atrium. Concrete vertical blades mark the front of the atrium leading to the playground and carry on side ways to mark the entrance . The entrance hall is formed with large windows on both sides. This gives inter-visibility between the atrium and the playground. Not only does the new building clearly mark the boundaries of the school but it is also ideally positioned to create a safe zone protecting teaching and playground areas from public space.

Space management - making the school a user-friendly site Creating a single entrance to the school on the boulevard Barbanègre gave us the opportunity to review the entire school’s spatial organisational needs. The new building around the covered atrium houses the administration department, welfare offices, staff rooms as well as a cycle storage and a multi function hall. Both the hall and bicycle shed are accessible from the street.

Classrooms are situated in one building only. This reduces staff and pupil movement between lessons.

Reduced pupil numbers meant the building in the middle of the site became redundant and could be demolished. This helped bring together the playground and create a single large area. This also allowed us to restrict the entrance to the school from Bonado street to meal delivery and maintenance only.

Boarding accommodation is situated on the upper floors of the building on the corner of Bonado and Bosquet street. Accommodation for pupils with reduced mobility, special needs classes and maintenance rooms are on the ground floor.

Catering facilities needed to be restructured and updated to be brought in line with current health and safety standards and to allow a better and smoother flow for users. A linear covered courtyard links the kitchens to the classrooms.

Technical process: Opting for exterior Insulation prevents thermal bridging. However, having a perfectly insulated building is not sufficient nowadays, one also needs to think in terms of sustainability and we had to imagine the best way of using renewable natural resources. Passive solar design was therefore used. Thermal insulation of the building with a curtain wall system on the façade combined with existing double glazing on the clerestory windows helps trap heat in a horizontal air gap. Not only does this ensure the building is properly insulated, dynamic facades allow us to produce and recycle energy. The air gap is ventilated through roof extractors connected to sensors.

In winter, warm air is taken into the building and tops up the heating via air handling units.

In summer, the air is ventilated to the outside. Adjustable blinds optimise comfort and help control sunlight as well.

Post-tensioned concrete was used for building the atrium. This results in a sleek, elegant and vast entrance hall which makes entering the school a bright, natural and welcoming experience.

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