The pure, metallic prism is surrounded by a new landscape inspired by the Norman bocage, A simple, frugal project, reactive to its environment, flexible and efficient

The Saint-Contest Commune, in the suburbs of the Norman city of Caen, is historically organized in hamlets. On the one hand, the land-use plans are aimed to affirm this organization, but on the other hand, the actual development is the sole expression of very practical requirements such as parking and access. This territory that has still lot of potential, is at risk of losing its identity. Normandie Équine Vallée has chosen a plot on the Saint-Contest Business Park to develop an international center of excellence in equine health. It includes a research cluster with L1-type laboratories, business modules and a tertiary cluster. The project stems from a global comprehension of the site, taking into account its history and memory, its current identity and its specific needs within the Business Park. It transforms the basic, circumstantial answer to specific requirements into a paradigm for a functional building. A simple, frugal and flexible building, that is reactive to its environment. The new Research Center is made of a perfect prism, with a ribbed metal façade. A new landscape inspired by Norman bocage surrounds it. This project builds an equal quality of dialogue with the context and its possibilities, and with eventual and unpredictable future developments. The façades are devoid of any hierarchical connotation. They identify, to the North and to the South, the access to the project, responding in an identical way to the needs of the program to the East and to the West. The building, made of wood structure, is placed on a thin concrete slab: an apparent base, which clearly separates the two levels of the project. The form releases us from the geometric constraints of the site and allows us to freely approach the organization of the plan and its evolution. It is drawn, in the East-West direction, by a module of 1.35 m., which defines the offices and laboratories. In the North-South direction, it is organized in programmatic bands. The same grid, the same height, the same technical plenum, the window height and constant access to natural light guarantee the total reversibility between offices and laboratories. The connection with the existing building is at the underground level. The natural soil bends, becoming a large vegetated and habitable slope, thus joining this low and bright level made of vegetation, raw concrete and earth that hosts the parking lots.


Extension of the equine research platform: tertiary cluster (offices, meeting rooms, auditorium, and cafeteria), research cluster (L1 research laboratories, business modules, logistics spaces) and parking.


Saint-Contest – 14 (France)


Normandie Équine Vallée
Hippolia syndicat mixte


Architecture: SCAPE Architecture – Ludovica Di Falco
Team: Mathilde Mouchel, Alessandra Vassallo, Riccardo Raimondo
Structural, MEP engineering, Cost survey: OTE


Restricted Competition, Preliminary Design


RT 2020




GSF : 1,517 sq m


3,322,000 €