Graal Architecture Redesigns The University’s Refectory

Renovations and additions were made to a university refectory building in France. A glass and green-painted steel roof pavilion with views of the surrounding parkland were added to the top of the building.

Graal Architecture Redesigns The University's Refectory
Graal Architecture Redesigns The University’s Refectory

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To do this, the Parisian studio had to make changes and add on to the original 1993 prefabricated concrete refectory building in Cergy’s Francois Mitterrand Park.

The project was completed for the CROUS—a regional organisation that provides bursaries, housing, restaurants, and cultural activities to students throughout France.

Even though it was in the middle of the park, the original refectory building didn’t have a connection to the outside and had dark interiors.

The approach taken by Graal Architecture involved both opening up and highlighting the original structure’s “intrinsic qualities,” as well as adding a terrace and rooftop extension called the “Kiosk,” which enjoys panoramic views of the park.

Subtly embedded in the topography, the original structure encountered a paradox, the practice explained.

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Graal Architecture Redesigns The University's Refectory
Graal Architecture Redesigns The University’s Refectory

While benefiting from a privileged location, the refectory suffered from a lack of visibility on the one hand and from interior spaces that were diminished by the refectory’s lack of external connections, on the other hand, it continued.

A large dining room with views of the park to the north can be found on the “garden level,” which is located on the ground floor and slightly recessed into the ground. The southern edge of the building is surrounded by kitchens, bathrooms, and offices.

In order to open up this ground floor space, we had to remove a wall, level it, and remove the spandrels. The green-painted steelwork framing the new windows is what makes this space unique.

Three programmatic bands-relaxation, dining, and kitchen areas-organise the interior allowing for the creation of a dynamic threshold between interior and exterior, most notably through the new transparency of the facade, the practice explained.

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Graal Architecture Redesigns The University's Refectory
Graal Architecture Redesigns The University’s Refectory

Inside, materials were chosen to make the most of light reflection, such as a grey resin floor and shiny white tiles.

Above, a new fast-food restaurant is housed in the Kiosk pavilion, which is framed in steel and finished in gleaming corrugated sheet metal.

The practice explained that “conceived as a light pavilion on a topographic mineral base, the kiosk serves as a unifying element between the various components of the refectory, allowing it to assert its presence while maintaining the refectory’s architectural coherence.”

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Through a restrained and economical design, the project demonstrates how to work on an existing structure that can coexist with the repositioning of a routine programme.

Graal Architecture built a multipurpose event hall earlier this year that looks like both traditional gabled houses and nearby industrial sheds, both of which are nearby.

This is one of the studio’s other projects. It’s a school extension in France made entirely of galvanised steel cabins.


Written By Tannu Sharma | Subscribe To Our Telegram Channel To Get Latest Updates And Don’t Forget To Follow Our Social Media Handles Facebook Instagram LinkedIn Twitter. To Get the Latest Updates From Arco Unico

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