“The chateau takes students under its wing“
After having gallantly survived the centuries, the Chateau Grand-Perron is beginning a new life in Pierre-Bénite, within the very walls of the Lyon-Sud Hospital Center. This relic, listed as a historic monument in 1979, had long sat abandoned. In danger of becoming a ruin, its western wing was demolished in 1976 after being deemed a danger by authorities.
Only a large-scale project—one which included the creation of a student residence on the site—could finance the restoration of this heritage building and the reconstruction of its missing wing. The new student residence, consisting of 182 rooms, is situated on the historic terrace. Its morphology takes on the “U” form of the chateau, thus initiating a dialogue between the historical and present-day intervention that continues throughout the entire project. Punctured by individual windows and gaps marking its circulation, the elegant monolith in white concrete opens towards the south with unobstructed views of the expansive landscape. Its two wings are cantilevered above the existing, historic stone wall, a remnant of the terrace, while the exterior spaces reinterpret traces of the historic gardens and central pond.
This new construction implements the innovative GBE® system of insulation set within two concrete walls, guaranteeing excellent thermal performance.
Dialogue between eras
The creation of this residence, in an ideal location for accommodating medical students, hospital workers, and families of patients, made it possible to imagine the restoration of the chateau and the complete reconstruction of its western wing in collaboration with François Guignard, heritage architect.
Following a long period of reflection based on historical research, AFAA chose to respect, meticulously, the volume of the historic wing. Nearly identical in its form, the contemporary wing nonetheless distinguishes itself through its materiality: walls of light grey concrete that take up the original decorative elements, window frames, and zinc roofing.
While signaling the project’s modernity, these solid and sustainable materials also set the new building within a longer narrative—that of the Chateau Grand-Perron, witness to successive eras of architectural modifications and functions. Over the centuries, the chateau has in turn been an impenetrable fort, a Renaissance jewel, a hospice, a refuge for orphans, and even a shelter for patients suffering from the Asian flu in 1957. History continues with this rebuilt wing which now hosts understated, straightforward, and comfortable student rooms.