Lille lycee Hotelier

The former steel work sheds which form a major part of Lille’s Fives-Cail-Babcock brownfield site will be transformed into the training college Lycée Hôtelier de Lille. As one of Europe’s largest industrial complexes, the site and former industry are deeply rooted in the city’s history. The challenge MVRDV faced was how to maintain the spatial qualities, character and monumental of the existing structures, while creating a contemporary transformation that embodies their historical significance.

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The concept was to make ‘a city above the city’, as an act of remembrance and as a gesture to the future, building upon the existing as the best way to innovate. Thus, the new school can be considered an exemplary reuse project, rejuvenating the existing halls while maintaining their industrial legacy.

Courtesy of MVRDV

The halls have an undeniably intriguing structural and spatial quality. Thus existing brick walls are preserved and steel beams remain in their original positions. The remaining gaps are filled with glass to allow for maximum day lighting and views between the halls and the street. The new school, albeit in connection with the existing, maintains a respectful distance, so as not to overshadow the historic buildings. Between the two, a public square is formed as a “green valley”, and becomes a stage for public events.

Courtesy of MVRDV

By organizing the school as a profusion of classrooms and technical practices: an open theater created by sets of overlays, juxtapositions, connections and shifts offering a great variety of spaces: a vertical village vibrating a wide range of activities, from preparation to consumption.

Courtesy of MVRDV

Can a ‘Grande Brasserie’ be imagined beneath the halls? An area where students eat and cook at the same time, a space where the preparation process is visible to all. The school’s facade, in connection with the covered street, reveals the activities of the Grande Brasserie as well as all public functions, including a restaurant, bakery, florist, hotel and spa on the ground floor. A new building at a more human scale than the halls, the “Triangle”, accommodates the school’s student residences. It is adapted and in dialogue with the surrounding urban tissue in terms of material and scale, . On the roof is a garden where herbs and fruits for the school are cultivated. Rainwater from great roofs of the halls and the triangle are collected and stored for the garden.

Courtesy of MVRDV

Project Info
Architects: MVRDV
Location: Lille, France
Client: Ville de Lille, Lille, France
Co-Architect: Sophie Delhay, Paris, France
Structure / Services: Projex, Villeneuve d’Ascq, France
Environmental advisor: Diagobat, Villeneuve d’Ascq, France
Costing: Vanguard, Saint-Ouen, France
Kitchen design: Spooms, Lille, France
Decontamination advisor: TAUW, Douai, France
Renderings: Luxigon, Paris
Year: 2010 – 2011
Type: Educational

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