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Mont Dore high school


mission new construction – competition
client Ministry of Education
project manager CoCo architecture (agent to client), Jean de Giacinto architecte, Cayrol, Ginger Suproner, BASE, CIEL, ES2, AC2R Sigma Acoustique
date 2012
footprint 8940m²
price 29,8M€ excl. taxes
location Mont Dore (New Caledonia)

The township of Mont Dore, the second largest city in New Caledonia, is launching a programme for the construction of various facilities, including a new high school to take place within a deteriorating nature area. The project is required to accommodate 600 students divided into 30 divisions and a boarding school sleeping 100.

The main challenges have been to integrate the new building on site with a desire to preserve the maximum amount of mangroves while establishing the school outside flood zones, and to create open walkways and protected, comfortable, functional spaces. The architecture must contend with severe weather conditions: winds, high temperatures, rain and a relentless sun. The buildings are orientated north-south, protected against direct sun light, at the same time the placement of each building takes full advantage of the prevailing winds for natural ventilation. Shaded pathways between the buildings limit the overall surface area of the construction. The non-air conditioned buildings are placed in quiet, secluded areas on site, while the cooled spaces, whose windows stay shut, can serve as a sound buffer particularly with respect to the noise from the road.

All circulation paths are covered, offering sun shading and shelter from bad weather. They remain open along two sides to allow for cross ventilation, controlled by blind like timber slats. These shades protect the corridors from direct sunlight and add an element of interest to the exterior of the buildings. On the road side, the buildings which contain the school’s communal facilities present to the public three large floor-to-ceiling windows, cantilevered over a landscaped waterway.