Positive Energy Preschool in the Oise Department, France Print
Thursday, 03 March 2011 09:42

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Given the opportunity to replace teaching space and enlarge shared common areas, the client’s primary objectives for this project were to clarify campus entry, create a world-class education facility...

Located in Breteuil, a small town in the Northern part of France, the project is a small preschool, snuggled between preserved buildings classified as ‘Historic Monuments’. The street, called ‘rue des Écoles’, hosts different schools, and the project adopts a contemporary and neutral exterior to ease its integration between the eclectic ensemble of school buildings.

Outside, the project is covered by sheets of copper. The ductile material wraps itself around the walls up to the ceiling. It covers the school in a shimmering skin that will eventually change color as it ages over the course of time.

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Edited by Lynda Waggoner



Beyond the contextual massing, the building is compact and graphic. Closed on its northern side to limit energy loss and preserving its privacy from the street, it opens itself up from its southern side embracing a pleasant outdoor courtyard. The internal space is shielded from the summer heat by triple glazed bay windows with argon strips.


The preschool has 4 classes along an activity room. Some of the classes extend vertically above the overall mass of the school, obtaining natural light through clearstory windows.


The school constitutes the first project won thorugh a competition by young architect Gemaile Rechak. This structure, trimmed with copper, combining originality and careful execution, contributed to him being nominated for the Prix de la Première Oeuvre (First Architectural Project Prize) in 2010. What sets this project apart is its energy consumption. This is not common to this type of facility. Its copper roof has photovoltaic panels which currently produce more energy than is consumed.



Project details:
Program:  Preschool with 4 classes and a motor-skills room.
Delivery: September 2010
Client: Town of Breteuil (60)
Total cost: €1 000 000 before tax
HQE Approach: Positive Energy Building
Energy consumption: -0.1kW/h/m² per year
Label: BBC Effi nergie

Construction system
Timber framework and timber-framed walls
Fermacell partition walls
Roofing and siding in TECU® Oxide copper from KME
Exterior wood finishing with 2 argon-filled triple glazed windows from BIEBER
140 m² of SANYO photovoltaic panels
Under-floor heating in the classrooms
Double-flow ventilation



About the Architect: Based in Paris since 2006, Gemaile Rechak is engaged in the transformation of sites and landscapes through the act of building, Gemaile Rechak works on the development of an urban design conscious of its surroundings. The experiments of this young architect bear witness to his quest for a more intelligent architectural creation as part of an environmentally-based approach.

The agency’s work is currently focused on the construction of 16 low-energy homes (design stage) and 32 HQE (High Quality Environmental standard) homes in Bezons (delivery scheduled for July 2011).

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Last Updated on Thursday, 26 May 2011 11:02