he department of Letters, Languages, and Humanities at the University of New Caledonia in Nouméa added a 5000 m² extension and restructured 615 m². There are two parallel buildings that follow the topography of a hill that tumbles down to the Paddon arch located to the north. The buildings are linked by walkways and wooden courtyards. Each building is protected by a second skin made of more than 300 vertical slats of fully stressed wood members, each 70 by 360 mm wide and spaced 20 and 110 cm apart. The elements are built from six laminated Scots pine parts, and each element is connected to the structure with hot-galvanised Simpsons fasteners. The structure can withstand winds of up to 250 km/h. This wooden envelope limits solar radiation without blocking natural light, and it improves ventilation in the dual aspect classrooms. Natural ventilation remains the primary form of ventilation, and air-conditioning is rarely used.
Resting on inclined posts, a concrete and glass amphitheatre whose volume is parallel to the classroom's incline extends to the west. Great care is taken in the aesthetic appearance of the north and south facades, which are made with GEODE Grid curtain walls in a silver-coloured finish. The absence of wooden sunshades and the raw concrete, which takes centre stage, hark back to the university architecture of the 1950s.
Contracting authority: University of New Caledonia
Associated architects: Jean de Giacinto Architecture Composite / Cédric Ramière (CoCo Architecture) / Philippe Jarcet
Photography: Jean de Giacinto
Find out more about GEODE Grid facade
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