The landscaping area of the fortifications has been characterized by the striking architecture of public facilities from the 1930s to the 1950s: Lycée Honoré de Balzac (secondary school), kindergartens and primary schools, as well as the importance of open spaces, and permeability towards the heart of the cluster. ENC Bessières is part of this problematic. Architectural coherence must be given to all the buildings which, today, are disparate. Signage on main entrances must be applied and their symbolic role examined. A new architectural image is also to be defined, taking the character of the existing building into account. One might characterize the project as a series of major choices, in turns urban, architectural, functional, technical, and aesthetic:
– Some construction to preserve the open aspect of the site, in keeping with landscaped character of the fortifications sector, maintaining the totality of the large courtyard-garden that unifies the lot, conserving moderate volumetry.
– Maximal upholding of existing buildings, unified with new buildings through the restoration of façades using similar materials (panels of fibre-reinforced concrete) and architectural style.
– Clear differentiation of programme elements per building.
– Clear distribution of entrances.
– A unifying intermediate building between the education/classroom building, the administrative building, and the refectory.
– A compact and rationalized education building, incorporating all the spaces that are still free on Rue Rebière housing all the educational centres that are identified through a particular floor, around the block of the main double staircase, and the communal resource centres that are assembled around the new staircase leading to the library.
– Completely independent residences: duplexes, benefiting from the view and sun, with their own particular entrance Rue Rebière.
– A restoration of the existing building based on technical layouts, calling on a limited number of repetitive elements that allow for the establishment of generalizable prototypes, responsible for synthetically resolving questions of a diverse nature: the building’s envelope, definition of the spaces, lighting, solar protection, acoustics, distribution of fluids.
– Materials and architectural style that belong to the historical context, situated both in the continuity of existing architecture from the 1960s, while also expressing its contemporary character, and unifying heterogeneous buildings in a single formal system.
– Great importance given to remodelled exterior spaces onto which all the principal spaces of the establishment’s collective life converge: entrance foyer, inner courtyard, student residence, and refectory. These are characterized by an alliance of the mineral and vegetal, the presence of low walls forming benches, the valorization of large existing batches of trees.