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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Adding Colour to Context

Compiled by TeamIAnD
Photography: Paul KOZLOWSKI; courtesy NBJ Architects

colourful fencing

A series of cohesive space frames – open and enclosed – rejuvenate the horticultural high school HonorĂ© de Balzac in the south of France… 

Several institutional designs are based on a common premise – openness and connectivity – where spaces are interactive and characterized by multiple utility; and constitute the core of the building that forms the main connect with various areas. The reconstruction exercise for HonorĂ© de Balzac de Castelnau-le-Lez by NBJ Architects was aimed at re-conquering space by better distribution of construction in order to create a scale of user-friendliness in the buildings as in the outdoor areas. 

nature and structure
vertical space frames

The first action was to reconsider the current landscape and to bring functionality to external installations, thus conveying true space qualities; and to create a total logic of circulation within the site. The constitution of this new urbanity becomes the base of a shared and porous space, generator of exchanges comparable with the strategic constitution of the campus. Nature then becomes the vector organized around inter-connected buildings. 

openness and connectivity

One of the challenges of this project was the establishment of a work pushed on the concept of filter. High verticality and successive brise-soleil break up space and offer variations of shade and light with just the right measure of the transparency.  


Taking this further is a reconstituted principal access on the public pathway. The entrance confers a new image on the high school, anchored in its local fabric, with a vibrant yet understated coloured luminous framework. 

brise soleil

Drawing contextually, the ubiquitous greenhouses are positioned centrally, their environments controlled to ensure all-year-round flora and fauna – relating directly to the pedagogy of the establishment. 

The reconstituted building masses open up the campus with a living-amidst-nature feel, where curriculum is brought out of the textbook, nurturing a holistic rather than compartmentalised growth.

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