Hosting all the central services and the offices of the Presidency of the University of Reims Champagne Ardenne, previously dispersed, the new URCA headquarters combines functional efficiency, flexibility and working comfort.
At the head of the Campus 3.0 program initiated by the URCA to renew and revitalize its real estate facilities, the building embodies the institution it represents with a strong and dynamic architectural signal, in a city where one inhabitant in six is a student. Finally, the location of the headquarters of this major public institution dedicated to education in a sensitive area is a strong symbol of the drive for excellence open to all.
Located in the Croix-Rouge district, to the south-west of the historic center of Reims, the new headquarters of the University constitute a structural link in the urban renewal of this part of the city. This heterogeneous, fairly distended sector is mainly made up of large groups of collective housing and business buildings, on the edge of a racecourse. The project fits into it at the corner of two streets, weaving continuity with existing operations and those to come, becoming an essential lever for the transformation of this sector.
The ground is divided between the volume of the building, composed like a figure bent in inflection around an island of greenery and a free space devoted to a garden which unfolds by playing with the difference in level. On the ground floor, the mineral plinth on which the levels rest is interrupted by the hall, which fits naturally into the corner of the building. Widely glazed, it clearly marks access to the seat. Its treatment slightly set back from the main facade and the development of a gentle ramp set it at a distance from the street. The common areas grouped together on the ground floor (hall, council room, catering), face south, towards the garden and open onto generous and sunny terraces. Upstairs, the four office floors pivot above the base. Entirely modular, they are designed to be totally flexible and scalable according to needs and synergies between services.
If the figure is unitary, the differentiated treatment of the envelope, whose facades are distinguished according to their orientations, makes it possible to respond to the specificities of the program. A game of contrast and complementarity is implemented between the relatively smooth facades enveloping the whole of the building and those located to the south on which have been added metal sunshades forming double skin solar protection. Carefully designed and oriented, they modulate the light in each space to adapt to different activities.
At the corner of the bending of the south facade, a fault interrupts the rhythm of the double skin to make way for exterior terraces. Accessible at all levels, they offer occupants additional spaces for discussion and relaxation.
Visuals ©: Guillaume Guérin