French architects Marjan Hessamfar and Joe Vérons recently completed the Mont-de-Marsan education center, an apprentice training facility that offers a visually striking environment for study. Located in a forested region of southwestern France, the facility marries landscape with architecture in a series of timber-slatted boxes that appear to float along a grassy slope. The training center accommodates 600 students in fields ranging from catering to floristry.
The former Mont-de-Marsan education center was located in a nearby town center and was in need of renovations after years of use. Local trade association Chambre des Métiers commissioned architects Marjan Hessamfar and Joe Vérons to design the new building and relocate it in a more forested setting. The new facility is clad in locally sourced pine and partially submerged beneath an artificial turf hill to harmoniously the woodland landscape.
Instead of a monolithic mass, the architects broke the building up into a series of box-like volumes that cantilever out over the entrance path. Each timber box is flanked by large sections of the grassy ramp, which visually connect the buildings to the forest landscape and provides protection from strong winds and solar heat gain. Horizontal windows located at the bottom of the timber-clad volumes let in natural light to the submerged ground floors that accommodate offices and classrooms for floristry, catering, and furniture making. Additional classrooms and computer labs are located on the upper floors.
Images via Marjan Hessamfar and Joe Vérons