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Public Calendreta College and boarding house


mission new construction – competition
client SEPA Pyrenees Adour
project manager Jean de Giacinto architecte (agent to client), CoCo architecture, OTCE, ESI concept, Cuisinorme, IDB acoustique, BASE paysagiste
date 2012
footprint 7300m²
price 10M€ excl. taxes
location Pau (64)

This project consists of a set of facilities in the neighbourhood of Saragosse, Pau. The novelty of this project is in its complex programme: a public college for 120 disadvantaged students, who live in an on-site boarding house; a Calendreta (bilingual French-Occitan) college, which teaches 80 pupils, lodging them in a student residence for 30, and a cultural centre accessible to local residents. The teaching and boarding blocks are placed around a new programme: the 3Cs (Centre for Culture and Knowledge), accessible to all students at all times.

The project is required to help in a social and urban regeneration of the neighbourhood. Our desire is therefore to create an architecture which builds relationships within the community while minimising the footprint of the building. Our proposal provides generous public spaces: a forecourt to the east, a public garden to the west and the continuation of an existing green corridor in the neighbourhood through the creation of a large central courtyard.

The building is simple, functional, minimalist, physically accessible and visually permeable. It forms a crown along the boundaries of the site, surrounding an internal courtyard with distinct programmatic zones: day spaces on the ground floor and night spaces on the top floors.

Circulation is channelled through a main corridor on each level, facilitating the supervision of students. The heart of the project is its resemblance to a large house, in which everything is designed to make life easier for its occupants. The form of the building is a series of built up and empty spaces with balconies overlooking the courtyard, the exterior park and the site’s untouched trees.