Hotel-Business Management School Georges-Frêche - Montpellier (FR)

Fuksas, ceramics and a catering school

A landmark city project has been completed in Montpellier, France
Benedetto Marzullo
Massimiliano + Doriana Fuksas
Year of completion

Is it possible for a sculpture to house a school? Or rather, can a modern high school take the form of a sculpture? If the concept comes from Studio Fuksas then the answer is a resounding yes. The school in question is the Georges-Frêche catering school in Montpellier, where the project carried through by Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas «marks the context, transforms the landscape and contributes to the urban identity». Intended as a training centre for the tourist industry, the school complex reveals a strong identity and clearly defined architectural characteristics that reveal its origins. It consists of two main buildings making up a «sculptural mass» around which the gym, student residence and teacher accommodation are organised. The main building encloses a cavity with on one side the student and visitor entrance and on the other a secondary entrance for teachers. Studio Fuksas was also responsible for the interior design of the catering and hospitality spaces open to the public. The entrance hall to the restaurant and the hotel houses the reception desk, clad with the same material that is used for boat hulls. This desk itself displays a sculptural design, with a glossy lacquered white colour that recalls the concept of solidity and fluidity of the forms of the complex. The various chairs and tables used in the spaces set aside for interaction between the public and the students stand out for their original design, while custom furnishings have been created specially for the hotel. The walls on the various floors in the school and the student residence display unique fluorescent colours ranging from yellow to green, magenta and orange, which also have a route marking function. The ceramic floors are intentionally neutral. The porcelain floor panels from Casalgrande Padana, chosen in monochrome colours (Nebraska, Grigio perla, Nero Acapulco, Manciano and Budapest) serve as an organisational element in terms of both colour and geometric rigour, lending both modularity and formal stability. The ceramic tiles of various sizes have been laid according to precise installation patterns, in some places in a regular geometric lattice layout, in others in a herringbone pattern. The ceramic tiles create a carefully-designed contrast with the other material. The building’s façade consists of 17,000 triangular-shaped boxes made from single pieces of anodised aluminium. Each individual aluminium element has a barcode that enables its position on the façade to be identified. The geometric design of the aluminium cladding merges seamlessly with that of the 5,000 glass windows, each different from all the others and likewise triangular in shape. When creating the building’s metal and reinforced concrete structure, shotcrete technology was adopted to reproduce the curved shapes of the volumes in the complex. Using a high-pressure pump, concrete is sprayed from either inside or outside the building into specially sized formwork. «This was an experimental project in terms of both the triangular geometry of the aluminium façade elements and installation of the reinforced concrete structure, both of which were adapted to the unique curved and fluid shapes of the complex,» explained the architects.

Casalgrande Padana, Granitogres and Pietre Native lines
porcelain stoneware
20x20 30x30 30x60 cm
Nebraska, Grigio perla, Nero Acapulco, Manciano, Budapest
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): ≤ 0,10%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): compliant
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): N/mm2 50÷60
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9 A
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant
Certifications and awards
ISO 14001
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