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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Hérouville-Saint-Clair Hotel in Basse-Normandie, France by Platform Architectures

December 4th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Platform Architectures 

The development that completes the urban composition programme of the town of  Hérouville-Saint-Clair is an enterprise centre to the west of the Place de l’Europe. The requirements of the programme – the local employment centre, a business incubator and a restaurant – imposed constraints on the layout of the centre that were overcome by the three primary volumes being assembled in an apparent imbalance.

Image Courtesy © Jérome Ricolleau

  • Architects: Platform Architectures
  • Project: Hérouville-Saint-Clair Hotel
  • Location: Basse-Normandie, France
  • Photography: Jérome Ricolleau
  • Complete: May 2012
  • Client: Shema
  • Project Management: Platform Architectures, Bruno Douliery, François Ehouarn, Olivier Leroy
  • Project Leader: Julie Clément
  • Cost: 3.9m Euros + tax
  • Surface Area: 2,321 sq m HSA / 2,900 sq m NSA

Image Courtesy © Jérome Ricolleau

The symbolic element of the project, the subtle game of piling up and shifting masses, generates an unease in the spectator: it is a delicate attack on the basic laws of gravity. The building is designed to be read from two perspectives: firstly there is the base, which follows the lines of force of the town and landscape, and then there is the assumed and asserted verticality.

Image Courtesy © Jérome Ricolleau

The facade of the building brings urban and architectural objectives into convergence, and even those of sustainable development.

The horizontal strata of brass-coloured aluminium integrate with the lines of the sun screens in a vertical arrhythmia, optimising thermal control and protection against the sun within the building.

Image Courtesy © Jérome Ricolleau


Nearly fifty years after the laying of the foundation stone of what was still a new city, the heart of the city of Hérouville Saint-Clair, finishes his composition by urban development on the place of Europe.

Image Courtesy © Jérome Ricolleau

Creating a business hotel on this place is a symbolic act :

– At an urban level, because of the situation of the building in the city, and because of the corporate image it returns, this building should indeed be a strong signal figure of a ” door “opening on the pedestrian crossing routes the citadel from West to East.

Image Courtesy © Jérome Ricolleau

– At an architectural level, around notions of identity, generosity, openness, modernity and poetry, but also rationality, sustainability and economic performance.
– At an environmental point of view, based on a bioclimatic approach and respect for the environment.

Image Courtesy © Jérome Ricolleau

Programmatic constraints related to the three sub-programs have pushed us to imagine a volumetric distribution relatively simple by assembling three main volumes:
– On the first two levels, local employment center revolve right angles. This bracket fits slightly open in the double geometry of Europe place and the building, orthogonal directions but also oblique. The oblique directional element accompanying the look and pathways inside the place.

Image Courtesy © Jérome Ricolleau

– Above, from second and three and a half levels, at the corner of the square, is positioning the business incubator.
– Part of the DRC to the west of the project is reserved for a restaurant.

Image Courtesy © Jérome Ricolleau

This assembly, with its masses of balance, is the strong symbolic element of the project. This subtle stacks and offsets of different volumes, level by level, generates disorder for the visitor: it is a fine achievement for elementary laws of gravity.

Image Courtesy © Jérome Ricolleau

A double reading of the building is proposed: a base part of the lines of force and urban landscape, with a verticality assumed and claimed. This is operative due to the height of the building, its relatively slender proportions, but also the subtle interplay of the front and lame breezes suns. Signal strength comes from its height as well as the apparent feeling of imbalance. We  designed this hotel as a business object predominantly urban, but takes its architectural autonomy by writing strong architectural volumes.

Image Courtesy © Jérome Ricolleau

Writing facade of this building follows a basic principle: the convergence of objectives, whether urban, architectural or related to sustainable development. This building is draped by metal sun screens. The lay horizontal integration allows breezes suns, arrhythmia following these vertical horizontal lines. These facades aluminum powder coated color “brass”, beyond their aesthetic force, also produce a high thermal efficiency and a perfect sun protection.

Image Courtesy © Jérome Ricolleau

The symbolic power of the building is also based on notions of constructive rigors. The rationality of the column-beam concrete structure, regularly screened on 5.40m, allows complete modularity of the building.

Image Courtesy © Jérome Ricolleau

Constructive rationality is at the heart of our concerns. The apparent lopsidedness of the master volume is not structural effect: they are only metal elements lightweight, sunshades, façade are reported in this volume singularity. This rationality is our assurance of economic performance and durability of the building.

Plan : Image Courtesy Platform Architectures

The project is part of a sustainable development and environmental quality. In our approach we favored the use of passive systems to meet the challenges of thermal comfort and energy consumption.

Façade east : Image Courtesy Platform Architectures

Façade : Image Courtesy Platform Architectures

Coupe Longitudinale : Image Courtesy Platform Architectures

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Category: Hotel

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