Les Coteaux Fleuris School by HEMAA Architectes and Hesters Oyon gives a nod to the past while interpreting its architecture in a thoroughly modern and sustainable way. This school repurposes local materials by including timber from the city center and slate from the bell tower and town hall.

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Front of the school with timber pillars

The multi-structure school in the Seine Valley is attached to the Norman village of Heudebouville. Its shape was inspired by local architecture. In addition, the morphology of local farm buildings is reinterpreted here to create large contemporary longères. What does longères mean, you might ask? Well, it’s the name for a long, narrow dwelling that develops along the axis of its peak. It is also typically inhabited by farmers and artisans of Brittany and Normandy in northwestern France.

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Front of the Les Coteaux Fleuris School and its name on the building

The geography of the site also demands that the architecture of this school fit the contour of the land. Playgrounds and orchards become valleys collecting rainwater to feed a landscaped basin at the lowest point of the property.

Arched roof structures with timber

Meanwhile, the school was built in a way to accommodate the future growth of the village and school. Classrooms can be added, the cafeteria, courtyards, and schoolyard can be extended outward, and the equipment installed in these buildings can accommodate more students. Internet connectivity and fire safety were created with this plan to support more users.

Tall glass windows showing a courtyard

A structural system in porticos enabled the modular nature of these structures with the absence of an intermediate loadbearing point. Furthermore, the facades and the roof were pre-assembled off-site in a prefab construction. All of this planning reduces cost and construction waste while allowing for future uses of the school without additional major construction costs.

An entirely timber cafeteria

The plan here was to reduce the school’s carbon footprint. The use of wood and slate, integration of photovoltaic panels and an absence of fossil fuel consumption for heating helped this structure reach E3C2 and BEPOS levels of sustainability. Moreover, the school was entirely built with local materials and built by companies local to the region, as well, which reduces shipping costs and travel.

The school is quite simple, but it’s also quite beautiful between the shapes of the rooflines, the natural materials used, and the mix of natural and ambient lighting. It takes a team to turn a vision of sustainability into a work of art. Certainly, the architects achieved that here.

+ HEMAA Architectes, Hesters Oyon

Images via Sergio Grazia