architect: Caruso St John Architects
location: Lille, France
The establishment of the Lycée Hôtelier de Lille on the Fives Cail Babcock (FCB) site is a first and significant step in the introduction of new uses and the transformation of a historically important place of industry. A disused industrial complex, the site is characterised by large-scale structures and open spaces. The master plan sustains the scale, monumentality and strong spatial qualities of the site. The design is ambitious and seeks to embody the site’s historical significance; it realises the quality and atmosphere of the historic fabric while simultaneously adapting the place for community and learning. The strategy for working in and around the FCB site’s historic building fabric is one of material transformation and typological continuity. Existing structures are kept in their entirety with their attractive, romantic and slightly melancholy character intact. Applying a light touch to the restoration brings into focus their epic scale and their history.
The new structures are pragmatic and share a tectonic and material sympathy with the existing. This is not a game of new and old; it is rather about making a new environment, where interventions work at the scale of the factory, and new programmes draw energy from the extreme spatial generosity. The programme for the Lycée Hôtelier is organised within the footprint of the former factory structures. A complex of new buildings is located where the FCB site and the surrounding city meet. These accommodate the gymnasium, the student residence and staff housing – uses that naturally mediate between the existing surrounding communities and the new communities that will inhabit this emerging urban quarter.