Fuksas Serves Up Gourmet School Design

Hotel and restaurant trainees in Montpellier, France, are due to get a crash course in chic design appreciation. Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas has designed the new Marianne hotel, catering, and tourism trade school.


Marianne hotel
Marianne hotel
Images courtesy M Fuksas ARCH
Massimiliano Fuksas has designed the new Marianne hotel, catering, and tourism trade school in Montpellier, France (top). Partially exposed structural framework will create a diamond pattern on the curved exterior surfaces, while the building’s skin is made of triangular aluminum panels punctuated by triangular aluminum window frames with double glazing (middle). The school includes five buildings totaling 291,000 square feet (above).

Planned as a group of five sculptural objects, totaling 291,000 square feet, the school buildings will range in height from one to six stories, each one wrapped in a smooth metal skin. Partially exposed structural framework will create a diamond pattern on the curved exterior surfaces, while the building’s skin is made of triangular aluminum panels punctuated by triangular aluminum window frames with double glazing.

“The relationship between the openings and built spaces is like the rhythm of a musical piece,” Fuksas says, adding that in the design phase he worked on “the continuity of some fragmented and fluid objects, organic and nothing at all to do with Formalism, which create open spaces and tension between the objects.”

The sleek and shiny building forms will house administration offices, staff quarters, and some 75,000 square feet of classrooms and training facilities for around 1,000 students. The project also includes 21,000 square feet of sports facilities and an outdoor track sandwiched between the main catering training building and a nearby traffic circle. Construction on the $48 million project is set to begin in October 2008 and finish by spring 2010.

The school is located at the southeast corner of Jardins de la Lironde, a 99-acre urban development scheme, master planned by the Paris-based architect Christian de Portzamparc. The plan includes apartment and office buildings that will stand on 11 “islands” separated by roads and green spaces, as well as private gardens and public parks designed by landscape architect Michel Desvignes.

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