Paris, France, 2020-12-10 –
The major new training center of 5 000 m², dedicated to the transmission and promotion of French gastronomic expertise, is located in the outlying district of Meudon-la-Fôret, 10km to the south-west of Paris, in an area of huge potential for the Greater Paris region.
Situated on the edge of Meudon forest, the building is inspired by the presence of nature.
The building mass is subdivided into 4 separate entities representing the four elements of earth, water, fire, and air, with a strong physical and metaphorical link to the act of eating, and which are reunited around a central space, the fifth element or “void”.
The workshops and kitchens are gradually revealed, by means of openings and see-through panels allowing an understanding of the spacial organization of the building, its functions, and uses. The internal street, evoking with its lively ambiance the famous Parisian covered passages.
At the ends of the street, forming a cross in plan view, full-height glazing admits a maximum amount of natural light, whilst bringing views of the natural landscape into the building.
Photo credit: ©Boegly Grazia
The building sits upon a smooth, dark, solid concrete base, which anchors it firmly to the site, and expresses the notions of permanence and stability. Symbolically, it represents the theoretical foundations of learning, whilst the upper, most important part, symbolizes practice and experience. This upper section clad in a sculpted metal skin is lighter in appearance, and more subtly articulated, the shiny metal echoing the stainless steel furnished kitchens found within. It is this contrast between form and material which gives the campus all its force and character.
These overhanging elevations, being more exposed to the processes of weathering, are given a sculpted metal form as if eroded by the natural forces of rain and wind, creating a wholly unique appearance and contemporary feel. From the outside, the architecture is characterized by the curving rhythms of brushed metal punctuated by sweeping glass facades.
The main façade is dominated by a large restaurant, forming the prow of the building, showcasing the expertise of Chef Alain Ducasse, and open to the public. The 215 m² restaurants with a seating capacity of 60, laid out and decorated by design agency Jouin Manku, has been imagined as a double-height, linear space, orientated towards the terrace.
The different training and activity areas are organized on the ground and first floors, comprising 9 laboratories for the culinary arts, a patisserie, a bakery, chocolate, and ice cream-making areas, an area for sensory analysis for the matching of food and wine and for the discovery of new flavors, 7 classrooms for instruction in subjects such as finance, marketing, and human resources, 1 knowledge center and co-working areas, 1 back office and administrative offices. In addition, there are areas open to the public such as a culinary boutique with a takeaway service, and a restaurant offering two different styles of dining: ‘gastronomic’ and ‘bistro’.
The Ecole Ducasse meets French Energy Efficiency Standard RT2012 and has received HQE Passeport (excellent) certification.
The landscaping proposals for the Ecole Ducasse were informed by a reflection on the integration of the site within a natural context, characterized by the abundantly green surrounding plots, and by the edge of Meudon forest itself. To this end, trees were planted around the edges of the site, accompanied by shrub hedges and fruit bushes, to create a buffer zone of planting around the building.
Comprising a variety of evergreen and deciduous species, the visual screen changes color with the evolving seasons. The biodiversity of the site is augmented by the planting of a large range of aromatic and fruit-bearing shrubs in the hedges, which might also satisfy the curiosity and appetite of students who can sample them throughout the seasons.
Landscaped places: the entrance forecourt is an outdoor terrace for the restaurant, a flavor garden composed of aromatic or edible plants for educational or recreational use, a cherry orchard provides a shady place to sit out during a break in the activities, the car parking area is also green and mostly hidden from the main entrance, the restaurant terrace, and the street.
The Green Roof, certain inaccessible areas such as the roofs will constitute natural refuges for the local flora and fauna. Locally occurring insect-pollinating plants will be favored for
their production of quantities of natural seeds, and their role in attracting pollinating insects to the site.
Floor area: 5 057 m2
Adress: 16 – 20 Avenue du Maréchal Juin, Meudon-la-Fôret (92)
Delivery date: November 2020
Assistant client: Artelia
Design team leader, architecture, interior design, landscape design: Arte Charpentier Architectes
Restaurant design: Jouin Manku for the initiation restaurant design
Building services – fluids: Barnabel
Quantity surveyor: DAL
Building control : Socotec
Environmental sustainability: Green Affair
External finishes: Joseph Ingenierie
Kitchen design: BEGC
Civil engineering: CL Infra
Building contractor: SPIE Batignolles
About Arte Charpentier Architectes
Since 1969, the agency has strived to bring the best in its expertise, innovation, and reactivity to bear on complex projects and a fresh approach to each new challenging brief. This requires that we adapt and renew our practice of architecture, urbanism, interior design, and landscape on a daily basis. This uncompromising attitude is what unites more than 120 employees of 15 different nationalities, including 20 associates, in our Paris, Lyon, and Shanghai agencies, and resonates with the constantly evolving issues of urban and territorial design in France and further afield.
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