Dominique Lyon Architectes

Clermont-Ferrand School of Architecture

Winner of ArchiDesignClub 2016 Award

The aim was to transform a sanatorium dating from the 1930s into a School of Architecture. The Sanatorium is located in the middle of a park, on the border between town and country. It consists of two parts : a long and narrow building facing south, set in a wooded hillside, and a northern part made of a superposition of volumes. The southern part has been rehabilitated, the northern part is a new construction.
This perfect example of radical functionalist architecture of the 1930s has radically changed its function. It was designed to isolate patients and orient them to the south ; it will now accommodate a population full of vitality, working in groups on screens protected from the sun.
In order to preserve the rational spirit of the existing building and to make it a model of architectural coherence that will serve as a model for students, the project aᬀrms the characteristics of the historic building by confronting it with the demands imposed by the present.
The project is based on five points :

  • The building is isolated in a vast landscape. This ideal relation between building and nature is restored in all its clarity : the park is reconstituted as a whole, and the site regains its territorial dimension.
  • The Sabourin building used to isolate the patients. Today it is organized around the collective living spaces : the main part of the student life is grouped on the first floor. As soon as you enter the building, you can see the most animated part of the school and the circulations on the upper floors are designed as places for collective life.
  • The sun was the raison d’être of the building. New applications are given to this principle :
    • the entrance facade, to the north, is no longer the darkened back of the south facade. The sun plays there. It is diverted by a large mirror.
    • The circulations in the floors that distribute the workshops are placed to the south to serve as thermal buffers and to mitigate the disadvantages of solar radiation in the workplace.
  • The thinness and length of the building are exploited : the 100 m long circulations placed on the southern facade allow to enjoy fully the effect of panorama on the magnificent landscape.
  • At last, the structure of the south building has been completely reworked to meet seismic standards. The new steel structure produces architectural effects that reinforce the rationality of the 1930s architecture.
    The building is both transformed and preserved. It aims to establish an architectural lesson.

Client : Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication
Delegate Project Manager : OPPIC
Site : 85 rue du Dr Bousquet, Clermont-Ferrand (63)
Programm : rehabilitation of the old Sabourin’s sanatorium
Competition : july 2008
Delivered : august 2015
Surface area : 11 500 m²
Cost : 19 M€ ht