École des Beaux Arts
The Valenciennes École des Beaux Arts was previously lodged in a 19th-century building that was not only undersized but also ill adapted to the activities of scholarly research and contemporary artistic expression. From this discomfort emerged the idea to organize a competition for the re-design of abandoned office space for use of the arts school. The project took a 'low-cost' approach from the outset, due to the renovation price tag of 600 Euros per square meter. Rather than spreading this budget thinly over every square meter, the architects chose to minimize the renovation work in the classroom areas, leaving the serious architectural design work for the common areas. In these strategically spot-lit areas (entrance hall, library, gallery, amphitheatre and cafetaria) colours emerge as well as low-tech, industrial building materials. The use of randomly perforated, galvanized steel panels as both ceiling elements and guard rails makes the project stand out.