The upgraded building is now devoted to general studies, and has improved thermal and acoustic performance, including shading to protect it against overheating. The fire performance has also been improved. A new rectangular building, set at right angles to it, houses technical classes. The two help to enclose a planted courtyard at the centre of which sits the other new addition - a circular, shallow-domed structure that houses the dining facilities and also can be used for festivals and other special occasions.

Both new buildings are steel-framed and clad in white prepainted metal, which Dubosc says, reflects the colours of the sun'. Extensions from the circular building are covered in shades, creating protected outdoor space. It has a sense of presence which makes it immediately clear that this is the important building, the central one to which people should gravitate for something out of the ordinary.

The technical building has been designed to resist blasts in the case of gas explosions. A two-storey structure, it has an entirely independent ground floor and a suspended first-floor slab. This means that the beams are entirely in tension, and can be slimmer than they would be otherwise. The entire steel frame is exposed on the surface of the building, including diagonal tension wires - slender and elegant but strong, the frame gives a good visual indication of the way that the building works.

Like the circular central building, the technical building has some external shading, in this case most prominently in the form of a swooping tented canopy that both protects and designates the main entrance. On a building that otherwise has a regular repeating pattern, this is an important way of making a sense of drama - something that has been achieved throughout the additions to what otherwise was a decidedly lacklustre school estate.

It is not surprising that the regional administration is so impressed by the building that it uses it regularly as an exemplar to show off to visitors. A tired old building has been brought up to date, not only in terms of its technical and environmental performance, but also in its atmosphere. Creating pride in a school is an essential part of successful education, and is one for which Dubosc & Associés is, in part at least, responsible. What could be a more appropriate term than transformation?

 

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