Regional training centre and Chamber of Trades

Regional training centre and Chamber of Trades

Architect
Patrick Arotcharen Architecte
Location
Bayonne, France
Category
Distribution Centres

Offices

Auditoriums
Vincenct Monthiers

Regional training centre and Chamber of Trades

Patrick Arotcharen Architecte as Architects

Placed on the higher ground of Bayonne’s urban fringes, the Chamber of Trades exposes relationships between volume, design, balance and rhythm that define a confidential and public place. Between the hillside and the poplar-hemmed boulevard, two green strips stretch out, connected by two perpendicular segments which culminate above the whole layout (an administrative centre at the south and general teaching rooms at the north). The horizontal volumes (parallel to the boulevard) revolve around an interior road (wood-covered with exposed construction details). This place is the convergence point of all the different pathways and becomes a convivial place for exchanges, thanks to its opening onto the outside world and its abundant light. The entrance then extends as a glasshouse-street that eventually opens out to the skies and serves both the mechanical workshops on the garden level and the specialised workshops on the first floor. A vague reminder of lakeside pontoons, the ensemble of the walkways look across a moat where vegetation grows and rainwater is collected. The reconstruction of such a lakeside landscape connects the building to its tree-lined environment and protects it from any disturbance from the boulevard. As each site calls for a specific response, the plan here is born from an interweaving of the natural and the architectural. To this effect, ditches dug into the northern carpark use a passive system to drain the water from the hillside streams and allow the vegetation to seep into the site. The downward slope of the site is again used to its advantage and new underground carparks are arranged in the excavated hillside. It is accessed via a crevice in the building, dug at the level of the mechanical workshops on the boulevard side. These stand out with a succession of shed windows which cadence the green roofs. If these roof cavities fulfil their usual function of skylights, they also have a technical purpose alongside the hill. The overall volumetry of the building is thus made up of clear developments and more tempered oblique lines which resonate with the site’s topography. This study of architectural form is intensified by the stainless steel and galvanized aluminium envelope: the subtle shine of the metal elements – the brise-soleils which form screens in front of the maintenance walkways, cladding – are the vectors of the building’s understated integration with its environment. A sensitive play between the immateriality and plasticity of the surfaces is thus created. This work on the outer shell responds absolutely to precise environmental considerations: as it widens, the façade becomes an instrument which modifies sunlight whilst letting breezes through. Reduced to the bare essentials, the technology underlines the building’s sculptural dimension which, at the entrance to town, gives the impression of a monumental stature somewhere between introversion and extroversion. Just veiled by the poplars, the CMA is a building that finds itself between monument and instrument, public symbol and logical utility. It still has between twice, but I think it’s better like this?...

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