On the border between Switzerland and France, Lugrin extends over a series of terraces dominated by the foothills of the Alps. Located opposite Lausanne, the town offers one of the most beautiful panoramas of Lake Geneva. Situated in the very heart of the village, behind the church and the town hall, the school group, for which this extension was designed, is nestled between an independent school for girls dating from 1850 and a town hall/school building for boys from the 1950s.
Responding to the metabolism of the territory and the growth of the population, the complex has already been through three extensions and restructuring phases. By adding another block to the building, our project has once again increased the capacity of the facility, providing it with new half-board premises, a new courtyard, four rooms, including three elementary classrooms and a visual art room, each with a capacity for 30 students, as well as common rooms.
Dovetailed into the topography of the surroundings, the current building consists of several adjoining volumes, fitted into the slope in a rational manner by using half-levels. In this rich architectural composition, our extension will forge a close relationship with its neighbors, while adding an autonomous, unified and rigorous volume to the site. The building has the appearance of a parallelepiped in Corten steel, which stands out on the horizon, set on a rough concrete base deeply anchored in the ground.
The top floor houses the new catering area, while the basement houses the elementary classrooms, and the two programs express their independence through their materiality. The natural gradation of steel delicately blends in with the tiles of the neighboring buildings. The barn archetype, with its connection to local heritage, inspired the design of this building: its double-pitched roof and its rust color revive the age-old links between the terroir and learning, while its long and slender silhouette plays with the laws of declivity to better blend into the landscape.
The project’s “breadcrumb trail” is a covered gallery that runs along the courtyard, connecting the entrance of the new installation to the existing school complex. More than a simple passageway, this colonnade space turns can be used for recreation during breaks. This arrangement fosters inter-personal uses and interactions.
The construction principle is based on a load-bearing concrete structure, framed using pine battens and insulated from the inside. The structure of the refectory is built with timber frame walls for the façades, while the roof frame is in wood. The Corten steel envelope resonates with the existing tile roofs. This structural system and the materials were chosen for their rationality, simplicity of lines, and precision of design, while respecting a tight budget and a limited environmental impact.
Their use for the Lugrin school is a fine example of the work on materials that the studio has pursued to since its first construction projects. In this regard, the larch cladding on the multi-purpose facility in Nevers, completed in 2012, distils a soft and warm atmosphere; the cultural center in Saint-Germain-lès-Arpajon, completed in 2015, is draped in aluminum; the Cachan theatre, completed in 2018, projects a bas-relief in concrete brick; and the family center in Pontoise, completed in 2019, is designed like a monolith in exposed raw concrete.