- Architects: Duncan Lewis Scape Architecture
- Location: Espace Monges Croix du Sud, Chemin des Syndics, 31700 Cornebarrieu, France
- Area: 3600.0 m2
- Project Year: 2005
- Associate Architect : JD Giacinto
- Engineer: Egis South-West
- Acoustic: Viam Landscape: Base
- Client: Cornebarrieu city – AMO OPPIDEA
From the architect. Cornebarrieu School is probably one of the first schools in France answering to the current problem of climatic changes in the world. Its sustainable construction focuses on ecological, social, and economic issues of a building, within the context of a learning environement for children. Here, rather than talking about a single building, we are developping architecture as an environment.
500 trees of over 9 meters high were planted and organized in a way to allow the different functions of the school to organize themselves around, beneath, within and above this new landscape. The presence of the trees offers a microclimate for this learning environment, bringing down the external temperature by over 3°C through the shade and the process of photosyntesis as a result of evapotranspiration. The walls of the classrooms have been developed using a translucide membrane so that the children have a maximum visual contact with the outside, producing a high quality of daylight inside the working spaces with a maximum of thermal confort.
The position of this project is simple and minimalist. It is based on the spatial notion of sequences and filters. This project plays with the complex interactions between mineral and vegetal, between the colors of the ground and the surrounding nature that come together.
In order to reinforce the presence of the vegetal parasol, thoursands of climbing plants have been introduced on the second level of the school, reinforcing the general shade on the school while waiting for the trees to grow.
The fluid movement of the children between the inside and the outside was a priority. The work is focused on the quality of the air, the light, the transparence of the facades, and the changing colors offered by the leaves. The vegetal roof acts as an important bioclimatical screen. The symbiosis between the school and the landscape has a strong educational dimension on the children’s day to day life at school, who even helped to design the colored facades of their school.
Lines of trees organize the inner galeries which are bathed in zenithal light. Other trees are dressed in transparent moulds, taking advantage of the exterior climatical ressources. The children feel all the sensations of the living trees in the heart of the school.
It’s all about back and forth between true and false, opaque and legible, hidden and obvious. Nature is neither an ideologic nor aesthetic alibi that would dress up architecture. Modernity has split mankind from his surroundings. It is necessary to recreate and rebuild the links between man and his context, where time is never frozen, where we make way for our dreams.