Following text provided by the architects
“Copain, Copain?!” provides a versatile and environmentally friendly building system, using passive strategies to control the light and thermal aspect of the existing primary school.
The assembly of different modules made of CLT tongue and groove system generates a diversity of interior atmospheres in the different modules. The general configuration creates an interior courtyard with a protected garden to improve current teaching methods. The spaces generated are versatile and not restricted to a single use, allowing a multi-purpose area while minimizing the footprint.
The project is laid out along the east-west axis, which allows for greater solar gain and facilitates cross ventilation. Each occupant has direct visual access to the outside and skylights provide a constant supply of light, which is necessary for a healthy learning environment. Hempcrete is used inside the building as acoustic insulation and as an air purifier. It generates a thickness in the walls that makes them habitable in addition to diffusing natural light.
Each module is mechanically independent in order to offer inter-modular autonomy as well as personalized control. This will result in a better comfort ratio for users and reduce energy costs associated with the overuse of traditional systems. The mechanical blocks include renewable energy systems, such as geothermal heating/cooling and photovoltaic panels.
The project is divided in threshold; at the entrance the pergolas serves as visual element and gathering point for children to access different facilities and invites them to inner courtyard of this new extension while coming to school or during the change of class periods. Even during rainy days, children can continue to play under the pergolas.
The first module attached to the pergolas serves as a vertical circulation in the project, while being a multi-purpose room that can be adapted to different activities and as daycare service at the end of the day to help the neighboring families. Moreover, this module will be used mainly in an urban environment to allow other possible iterations of Copains, Copains to gain in height and thus become more integrated into the built context.
The second module provides formal teaching methods and proposes a combination of a conventional classroom, a specialized room as well as bathrooms. In addition to this, each space has its own connection with the inner courtyard, thus offering a continuous connection with the outside world and the possibility to teach outside when the weather is nice.
The passageway, double the interior circulation outside of the classroom module, and allows a walk along the green space surrounding the site. Punctuated with alcoves and pockets of vegetation, the corridor offers a moment of relaxation and rest during a noisy playtime, or simply to chat with friends. The exterior extension of the project structure allows one to always feel accompanied and protected by it even when outside.
The greenhouse marks a break between the classroom block and the gymnasium block, the greenhouse is intended to be a module for teaching gardening, botany and market gardening while at the same time lightening the massive aspect of Copains, Copains? This space also allows a connection with the inner courtyard where one can find vegetable gardens and a dining area in the calm of the wind. The greenhouse is supplied by rainwater harvested from all the roofs, and it will also be recycled in the low-flow sanitary systems.
And the last module contains both a gymnasium and a recreational platform, it provides the link with the existing courtyard by its space free of any structure. In addition, the courtyard benefiting from these independent entrances, allows access to the public beyond the opening hours of the existing school.
The project was announced as one of the top 10 winners list of COTE 2019- 2020 Students’ Awards by AIA and ACSA.