The Ecole Ducasse, a world-renowned teaching centre for the culinary arts, offers a large portfolio of training programmes to professionals and entrepreneurs. The new campus, situated in Meudon-la-Forêt, will be another centre of excellence to add to the list of schools in France, the Philippines and Brazil. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the design including the architecture, interior design and landscaping.
The architecture is inspired by nature, with the four building entities symbolising the four elements, water, fire, earth and air, strongly associated with the culinary arts, and linked together by the fifth element, the ether. This is represented by an internal street connecting the four blocks, providing a place for social interaction. The centre is carefully integrated into its green context on the edge of Meudon forest.
The façades have been sculpted as if eroded by natural phenomena, giving the buildings a unique and contemporary appearance. On the main façade, the restaurant takes pride of place forming the prow of the building and showcasing the art of Alain Ducasse. The solid concrete base, clad in dark materials, symbolises the theoretical side of teaching, firmly rooted to the ground, and the upper, main portion of the building symbolises the practical aspects and experience. The use of contoured metallic cladding profiles lends a lighter and more finely detailed appearance, giving the impression of a façade sculpted by the wind, and the material makes reference to the stainless-steel environment of the kitchens. In contrast, the eroded faces are smoother in appearance and are treated in clear or translucent glass.
The teaching areas are designed with the aim of optimum efficiency and rationality, essential to the apprenticeship of the highest technical standards of the culinary arts. They are organised on two levels around the double-height internal street and have a capacity of 300-400 students. They include 7 lecture rooms, 9 technical instruction areas, a sensory analysis area, a knowledge center, coworking spaces, a back office and administrative offices. A take-away counter and 2 restaurants open to the public, all double-height spaces, also form part of the training department. Both internal and external spaces offer a rewarding experience to students and visitors alike.
On the lower ground floor, are situated reception rooms, storage and ancillary spaces as well as parking for 54 cars.