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Laboratories for ecology and forest genomics, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
Champenoux, Nancy, Meurthe et Moselle, France

The INRA has added these laboratories for research on ecology and forest genomics to its existing facilities in the Nancy region. The project is divided into two segments. To the north there are the laboratories themselves, facing the existing buildings. They have a constant level of natural light, without excessive heat in summer, and a direct visual connection with the rest of the "campus".
The offices are located on the sunny side, to the south. Here, the system of protection (overhangs + vertical slats) is adjusted to the patterns of incident sunlight. On the eastern and western sides, the texture of the primary (vertical) plane is denser. In the centre, facing southward, a horizontal overhang is sufficient, and the verticals are widely spaced. On the eastern and western sides, they are closer together. The façade thus has a kinetic character that dynamises the perspective, displaying the "biomorphic" aspect of the operation. The formal contrast between the northern and southern sides is marked by an adaptation of the architecture to the climate, but also the inherent qualities of the site. The INRA laboratories form a busy, convivial research platform.
In this spirit, the northward, inner-facing side of the complex is relatively transparent, not requiring external solar protection, whereas the southern boundary is expressive – less transparent, more spectacular. The site is not lacking in "natural" character; which is why we proposed a different outlook – divergent, surprising, tropicalised, profuse, colourful. All the different buildings have walkways that open onto a garden at the heart of the new complex. Apart from its bioclimatic character, this garden is seen as an amenity – a living, convivial space for the use of the researchers.

Laboratories for ecology and forest genomics, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique , Champenoux, Nancy, Meurthe et Moselle, France
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Area
1,440 m2
Cost
5.5 M.€HT
Client
INRA
Architects and surveyors
Tectoniques
Landscaping
Itinéraire Bis
Engineers
Anglade Bois, Sechaud et Bossuyt Fluides, Indiggo Environnement
Environmental approach
Wood-burning boiler – an experimental system using miscanthus grown on the site
Photovoltaic production: 180 m2 of panels
Wood frame construction, using 600 m3 of fir from the Vosges ("Origine Contrôlée")
Ground-coupled heat exchanger
Deep facades with triple glazing
Bioclimatic patio