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School of Gastronomic Delight
Promoting the excellence of French gastronomic excellence, the brand new Ecole Ducasse Paris campus ticks all the boxes as being one with nature.
In the provincial district of Meudon-la-Fôret, located about 10km to the south-west of Paris stands the Ecole Ducasse Paris campus. The new 5,000m² training center is a major force dedicated to the impartation and promotion of French gastronomic expertise. The new campus is a fine addition to the other campuses located around the world; including France, the Philippines and Brazil.
Arte Charpentier Architectes, the agency in charge of designing the new campus is responsible for all aspects of the design including the architecture, interior design and landscaping. Inspired by nature, with the four building entities symbolising the four elements most strongly associated with the culinary arts; water, fire, earth and air, the campus is carefully integrated into its green context on the edge of Meudon forest. A fifth element; the ether, completes the strong physical and metaphorical link to the act of eating, and which are reunited around a central space.
The solid concrete base, clad in dark materials, symbolises the theoretical side of teaching, firmly rooted to the ground, symbolising notions of permanence and stability. The upper and main portion of the building, on the other hand, symbolises the practical aspects and experience.
The façades and the overhanging elevations have been sculpted as if eroded by natural phenomena, giving the buildings a unique and contemporary appearance. The use of contoured metallic cladding profiles is more subtly articulated, lending to a lighter and more finely detailed appearance. The shiny metal echoes the stainless steel furnished kitchens found within, while the eroded faces are smoother in appearance and are treated in clear or translucent glass to provide a striking contrast. It is this contrast between form and material which gives the campus all its force and character.
From the outside, the architecture is characterized by the curving rhythms of brushed metal punctuated by sweeping glass facades. The main façade is dominated by a large restaurant, forming the prow of the building, showcasing the expertise of Chef Alain Ducasse. The 215 m² restaurant is open to the public, with a seating capacity of 60, with designs carefully laid out and decorated by design agency Jouin Manku, who have imagined the double-height, linear space to be orientated towards the terrace.
As a world-renowned teaching centre for the culinary arts, the workshops and kitchens are designed with a keen understanding of the spatial organization of the building, its functions, and uses. The use of openings and see-through, full-height glazing panels allow for a maximum amount of natural light, whilst bringing views of the natural landscape into the building. This design is intentional, evoking with its lively ambience of the famous Parisian covered passages.
The landscaping proposals were informed by understanding the integration of the site within the natural context and its proximity to the abundantly green plots at the edge of the Meudon forest. The visual screen changes color with the evolving seasons, with a variety of evergreen and deciduous species forming the biodiversity of the site. This is further amplified by the planting of a large range of aromatic and fruit-bearing shrubs in the hedges, which might also satisfy the curiosity and appetite of students who can sample them throughout the seasons. Trees were planted around the edges of the site, accompanied by shrub hedges and fruit bushes, to create a buffer zone of planting around the building.
About Arte Charpentier Architectes
Since 1969, the agency has strived to bring the best in its expertise, innovation, and reactivity to bear on complex projects and a fresh approach to each new challenging brief. This requires that we adapt and renew our practice of architecture, urbanism, interior design, and landscape on a daily basis. This uncompromising attitude is what unites more than 120 employees of 15 different nationalities, including 20 associates, in our Paris, Lyon, and Shanghai agencies, and resonates with the constantly evolving issues of urban and territorial design in France and further afield.