Seminaries and Schools of Architecture are not commercial enterprises. Their perception and value as public institutions is undeniable – but they do not require urban frontage in the same way that civic buildings and retail operations do. Priests and Architects require proximity to the public real, but they must also maintain the distance necessary to remain rooted in more abstract modes of thinking.
The wings of the old seminary, and the courtyard typology at large, are uniquely suited to this duality. They are modest buildings, which reflect a clear need for both introversion and congregation. The School of Architecture at Laval is a courtyard building which has lost its relationship with its court. The need for new spaces, which will house the more public functions of a school of architecture, offers an ideal opportunity to re-assert the status of the court.
Occupying the remainder of the void left by the original seminary of 1667, this project completes the abstract square and establishes a much needed pivot point between the public and private functions of the school. It also connects the two extremities of the existing building across and under the court, providing new paths and a formal circulation spine.
Four stacked pavilions, tethered to the northern edge of the courtyard, preserve and enclose the court – while a subtle cutting and peeling of the ground plane establishes new relationships and potential uses.
The preservation of the formal courtyard is complemented by the excavation of a smaller, more intimately scaled court – providing visual access as well as seasonal spill-over for the fabrication labs which will be established in this wing.
The playful stacking of the volumes (pure form-making!) is balanced by the austerity of the cladding – a subtly reflective translucent glass skin – which modulates solar exposure, and provides opportunities to see and be seen. A new formal entrance – modest yet iconic… Theory is over architects. It's time to play!
11 scanned / 9 viewable
- Presentation Panel
- Presentation Panel