Martin Malvy High School

  • area / size 165,764 sqft
  • Completed 2020
  • Location Cazères, France,
  • Séquences Architects created the naturally-lit environment for Martin Malvy High School located in Cazères, France.

    Sited on former agricultural land next to the Plantaurel secondary school, 600 metres from the old centre of Cazères and the train station, the sixth-form college was duty-bound to blend harmoniously into its environment while also adding to the attraction of the village and to the development of the area by providing families with a good local sixth-form college. On this longitudinal plot, the college is arranged in successive strips. Ordered on the entrance court side, they deform and break rank as one moves back into the campus, leaving space for vegetation and for nature. Like the organisation of the neighbouring plot, the density of building at the front progressively diminishes, freeing the back of the plot for sports, games and leisure activities. This arrangement ensures the gentle transition between the different environments framed within the site. Ensuring the image of a modern public establishment, able to evolve, in harmony with its time and its environment, has naturally orientated the choice of building materials for the new college, all are durable, solid and easy to maintain. With concrete and glass bases, the timber-ribbed upper floors are animated towards the top by a play of slopes, echoing the Pyrenees that are ever-present in the landscape.

    Providing generous natural light and pleasant views for all, students and staff alike, each space is in dialogue with the surrounding landscape via large windows. The college is a compilation of open spaces like the cloud, the entrance to the library, propitious to thriving and learning; warm and light internal spaces, propitious to exchange and the wellbeing of users; external landscaped spaces, calling for calm and focus.The parallel wings define the pleasant, light spaces from which the class and study rooms, studios and offices benefit. While relaxation and leisure spaces open broadly onto the recreation areas, the learning centre benefits from the vegetal screen and calm of the forest garden crossed by the stream.

    The image of the new college is the result of applied and detailed work between constructive choices and architectural objectives. It reflects the dynamism and development desired by the client thanks to a carefully considered design, leaning towards local skills and technologies of low environmental impact. The buildings provided are formed of a structural concrete frame with its qualities of inertia and acoustic comfort, combined with ‘lightweight’ timber facades. This technology makes it possible to guarantee a high-level finish for facades that are entirely prefabricated in the workshop, while also guaranteeing optimum acoustic, visual and thermal comfort. This system also enables optimum site time and above all a major reduction in disturbance, which is vital given this residential and busy neighbourhood.

    The Cazères sixth-form college houses a multidisciplinary college for 1,100 students, equipped to provide general and technical teaching, with a ‘Ceramic arts’ professional qualification. On the campus it will house several separate functions organised and linked by the external spaces. The day-college teaching building, facing onto the entrance area, houses the general teaching facilities, administration, college life and a ‘creative projects’ area that can open outside of school hours. Installed on the ground floor, ceramics teaching is organised around courtyards with studios, throwing rooms, storage and kilns to communicate the different techniques and skills of this local craft. Along the playground, on the northern edge of the site, is a canteen with cooking facilities, and a residential building for live-in students with, on the ground floor, foyer and sports facilities.

    Design: Séquences Architects
    Associate Architect: Fontaine & Malvy
    Photography: Kévin Dolmaire