Located within the innermost ring of the historically protected zone of old Poitiers, the project site marks the transition between the plateau of the city centre and the green spaces of the Jardin des Plantes and the banks of the Clain river, a transition we can readily see in its slopes. This site, formerly occupied by the University of Poitiers’ Medical and Pharmacy Schools and situated next to the Hôtel Pinet, seat of the President’s Office, will soon feature a building hosting a Council Chamber, a lecture hall and exhibition space, archaeological storage facilities, and a parking area. The location and future uses call out for the creation of a public space which serves as a square and as the beginning of a green corridor heading towards the Jardin des Plantes. To this end, the exterior spaces will be arranged along an axis at a constant elevation from the access road, from the tree-filled square to the “bird patio” garden and the main courtyard. Rather than creating a signal, the project has adopted a simple but resolute approach that highlights the public role of this entity and masks its internal uses.
Originally built in the nineteenth century and now standing empty, the former Medical School building (E3) that once housed the Pharmacy School completes the site; its façades will be restored.
The project is characterised by a combination of two volumes: the main building (E4), which stands alone, and a building connecting to Building E3 to form the “bird garden”.
The main building is situated along the traditional line on which the Hôtel Pinet also sits. This positioning will close the block and create a new façade facing the street. Rising one sole floor, it preserves views onto the historical buildings that form the Hôtel Dieu in the distance. It appears as a reception hall for the President’s Office.
Two underground floors sit beneath the reception area, thus concealing the internal uses. They extend into the centre of the site, running below the “bird garden”. Their plans border on the edges of the existing foundations along the western side.