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Lycée Simone Veil by Hellin-Sebbag Architectes

Wooden high school adorned with ceramic

Lycée Simone Veil by Hellin-Sebbag Architectes
Photography by © Julien Thomazo

Hellin Sebbag Architectes designed Lycée Simone Veil, a ceramic-adorned wooden high school in Gignac, France. On an area of 11,000 m2, the new school accommodates 1,200 students and kids. The institute also offers new study programs such as “Architecture and Design” and “Energy and Environment.” Sustainability and innovation have been prioritized not only in the complex’s contents but also in its design. Discover more after the jump.

Lycée Simone Veil by Hellin-Sebbag Architectes
Photography by © JeanPierre PORCHER

From the architects: Located at the foot of the Gignac hill in the Herald valley, the Lycée Simone Veil takes its dominant colours from the rural landscape – the blue and green shades of the vines and foothills of the Haut-Languedoc massif in the distance.

The roofs of the lowest buildings are gardens with gentle curves – valleys and hills – as if the ground has risen to the roofs, moulding them into free forms that provide the school with a “green heart”.

Lycée Simone Veil by Hellin-Sebbag Architectes
Photography by © JeanPierre PORCHER

With a Bâtiment à Energie POSitive (BEPOS – building produces more energy than it consumes) objective, the programme generated a legible layout around a courtyard surrounded by the two 3-storey north-south oriented teaching blocks and buildings with atypical functions – the east-west oriented Documentation Centre and canteen. The parallelogram form of the courtyard results from the superimposition of the access road and north-south building orientation. Due to the differing volumes, it generates spaces with distinct functions, while enabling for optimal surveillance. Independent of the educational facility, the boarding school and staff accommodation are located outside the courtyard, opposite the sports field.

In three superimposed curves, the reception building unrolls like a ribbon to form a welcoming entrance – its awning supported on elegant V-shaped columns of ultra high-performance fibre-reinforced concrete (UHPC), the front section of level 1 accommodating the administration and then, the setback volume of level 2.

Lycée Simone Veil by Hellin-Sebbag Architectes
Hellin & Sebbag, Lycée Simone Veil, Gignac, Mars 2021, Photographies Jean-Pierre Porcher

Also acting as a signal, green progressively tints the reception building curve to highlight the entrance porch from a distance by capturing the rays of the rising sun. Likewise, on arrival by the RD32 roundabout, the two gables of the teaching blocks, which frame the facade of the reading room, are clad in a predominantly green terracotta mesh that serves as the background to the portrait of Simone Veil.

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To deliver a biosourced building and respect the short construction timeline, a timber structure was chosen: solid timber columns, beams and floors in cross-laminated spruce (CLT), with timber frame walls (Murs à Ossature Bois – MOB) in elevation. Rather than timber, facades are in clad glazed terracotta for its durability, thermal inertia and ease of maintenance.

Photography by © JeanPierre PORCHER
Photography by © JeanPierre PORCHER
Photography by © JeanPierre PORCHER
Photography by © JeanPierre PORCHER
Photography by © Julien Thomazo
Photography by © Julien Thomazo
Photography by © Julien Thomazo
Photography by © Julien Thomazo
Lycée Simone Veil by Hellin-Sebbag Architectes
Photography by © Julien Thomazo

Nevertheless, timber remains very apparent inside: the corridor walls lined with birch panels and acoustic ceilings with undulating slats in the Documentation Centre and restaurant.

In addition to the photovoltaic panels on the roofs of the two teaching buildings and boarding school, a photovoltaic canopy located over the entrance building reminds users and visitors that if this school has positive energy – it is partly due to renewable energies.

LOCATION avenue Arnaud Beltrame, 34150 GIGNAC (France)
CLIENT REGION OCCITANIE Pyrénées-Méditerranée

CLIENT REPRESENTATIVE ARAC Occitanie

ARCHITECT Hellin-Sebbag Architectes Associés (Montpellier/Paris) – hellin-sebbag.archi

Consultants Structural Engineers: Terrell (Toulouse)
Mechanical Engineers: Adret (La Seyne-sur-Mer)
Building Economist: Egis Bâtiments Sud-Ouest (Montpellier)
External Works: Underground Ingenierie (Montpellier)
Kitchen Designer: Ingecor (Montpellier)
Landscape Architect: Guillemet (Salon-de-Provence)

Construction Manager (OPC) ARTEBA (Montpellier)

COMMISSION

Public Procurement Code – full professional service (interiors/fire security/BIM)

FLOOR AREA

14,514m2/5.35ha site area

CAPACITY

1100 high school students

BRIEF New build high school:
Reception, exhibition area, multipurpose room, Documentation and Information Centre, intendance office, staff room, administration, 28 classrooms, 7 science laboratories, 3 computer rooms, 9 electronics vocational workshops, 5 vocational laboratories, 800-meal canteen, 80-bed boarding school, 8 staff housing units, sports grounds and changing rooms

CONSTRUCTION COST

31.86 M€ before taxes

PROJECT TIMELINE

Competition: July 2017
Delivery June 2021

CONSTRUCTION TIMELINE

Initial programme: 17 months (including 2 months site installation)
• First 4 of 7 buildings delivered July 2020 for academic year 2020/21
• Fitting out of temporary accommodation before final delivery
CONSTRUCTIVE PRINCIPLES AND MATERIALS
Bâtiment BEPOS (geothermal, photovoltaic) and biosourced (timber)
Mixed structure 2/3 timber and 1/3 concrete:
• Ground floor: in situ concrete and BEFUP columns
• Upper floors: facades and MOB rebates and CLT floors
Facade envelope: external insulation (ITE) and glazed terracotta cladding

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