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.
City Council House in Quimper, France by Guinée – Potin Architectes
July 24th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal
The city council house construction is located in Quimper, in an urban re-newing area called Kermoysan. On the north, the site faces a car park and residential housing from the sixties, on south the main street and a roundabout. On the western boundary stand lots of oak tress and sweet chestnut trees, and a little footpath leading to individual houses.
In this particular context, the project proposes a strong identity, re-telling a «story» and re-creating a place. The building is clad in a light wood skin with a geometric pattern, bringing back to an imaginary, and reminding the half-timbered houses of the historical city of Quimper. The existing natural environment combined with the new landscape frontside creates a green setting for the new city council house.
Around the atrium
The city council house of Quimper has a very complex program combining the city council house and public services such as social services or early childhood services. In this way, the project suggests positioning and articulating in a rational way its multiple entities around a central atrium. This one is open on the entrance and main floors, in a logic of fluidity, legibility, and conviviality of spaces. This atrium is the heart of the project. It offers comfortable natural light in the building all year long, and values the vertical circulations (access to the floors) and the horizontal circulations (footbridges and around the atrium).
Generously lit by the atrium, the entrance spaces provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere using a palette of natural materials (dividing walls and interior cladding) and establishes a chromatic harmony between the inside and the landscaped surrounding parvis.
These services are distributed along the loop circulation around the atrium. South office spaces are organized on the depth axis, in order to take advantage of the natural solar light. Bulky wide-view windows allow both solar protection and double layered ventilated skin. North-oriented office spaces are lined up on the façade to provide a homogeneous light all day long. West shared spaces benefit from an indirect daylight, coming from the glazed circulations overlooking a grove.
In the process of designing a highly sustainable building, we chose to adopt a concrete beam-column structure, with a complete external insulation and a natural wood cladding. These solutions offer a great thermal inertia, a clean construction site, and allow a high level of flexibility and reversibility in the future. Both inside and outside, the will was to keep natural and raw material on sight : raw concrete, untreated wood, glass, metal…
The distribution of the various functional entities favours equivalent natural lighting. Each space features natural solar source, that alternates side and zenithal lighting. Positioning and orientating the project on site strongly involved studying functional and climatic data.
On the south elevation, in order to prevent overheating and to enhance visual comfort on the ground floor, the building sets back from the parvis and thus materializes the encorbelment of the upper floors over the parvis. On these upper floors, solar protection is provided by « frames » around the windows. Lateral openings are drawn by their orientation and complemented with the zenithal lighting of the atrium.
Contact Guinée - Potin Architectes