It is in Meudon-la-Forêt, in Hauts-de-Seine, that the new campus headed by chef Alain Ducasse was established. The establishment of 5,000 m2 of spaces devoted to taste and intended for teaching, transmission and promotion of French gastronomic know-how, is carried out by Arte Charpentier.
Located near the Meudon forest, the building is inspired by nature. The composition of the architectural volume is articulated around four blocks, echoing the four elements – water, fire, earth and air – closely related to the act of eating, and linked together by a void, the fifth element. This central void is a true interior double height street which allows the fluid circulation of users and access to four separate volumes. We gradually discover the workshops and the kitchens, thanks to openings and transparencies that allow the project, functions and uses to be readable. This can create visual breakthroughs and encourage synergies between students, training staff and also the public who come to visit the premises. This very lively place evokes the dimension and atmosphere of the famous Parisian covered passages.
The ends of this longitudinal central space, in the shape of a cross, are fully glazed to obtain maximum natural light and offer full height views of the surrounding nature, which seems to penetrate the building.
The Ducasse de Meudon School is deeply rooted in its site through a massive concrete base, smooth and dark, which expresses durability and stability. From a symbolic standpoint, this low volume represents the theoretical part of the teaching.
The upper part, the most important, symbolizes practice, experience. This volume is lighter, more sensitive, it is made of a light and curved metallic skin which echoes the stainless steel widely present in kitchens. It is this contrast between shapes and materials that gives campus its whole body and character.
The corbelled facades are logically more exposed to the elements of nature. They therefore seem hollowed out, as if sculpted by the natural phenomenon of erosion, giving the Ducasse School a singularity and inscribing it in a contemporary style. It is as if the wind, the rain, the air have worked the building envelope over the years. Wide curves are therefore visible from the outside, formed by flat glasses and brushed metal.
The main facade is dominated by a large restaurant, accessible to all, the real prowess of the building and showcase of the know-how of Chef Alain Ducasse. With a surface area of 215 m², the restaurant, designed and decorated by the Jouin Manku agency, has been designed as a linear space, in double height, facing the terrace. It can accommodate 60 people.
The various training and activity sites are spread over the two floors of the facility and consist of 9 laboratories for the culinary arts, pastry making, bakery, chocolate, ice cream; 1 sensory analysis room dedicated to food and wine pairings and the discovery of new flavors; 7 classrooms for academic courses (Finance, Marketing, Human Resources, etc.); 1 knowledge center and coworking areas, 1 back office and administrative premises. These spaces are completed by places accessible to all: a culinary shop with a take-away sale and a restaurant offering two different atmospheres, gastronomic and bistro.
The technical rooms, reception areas, reserves, a cellar, a set-up kitchen and a 54-space car park are located in the basement, accessible from the outside by a two-way ramp and two emergency stairs.