France: Discreet convent and architectural concrete walls
Sainte Claire de Ronchamp convent in France’s Upper Saône region is a Poor Clares community. It was built to a design by architect Renzo Piano using Vicat cement.
In September the Poor Clares of Ronchamp took possession of the newly built Sainte Claire de Ronchamp convent on Bourlémont hill, just below the Notre Dame du Haut chapel built in 1955 by Le Corbusier. Built to the design of Italian architect Renzo Piano who is known worldwide for projects such as the Pompidou Center in Paris and the New York Times Building, the new convent forms an arc along the contour of the hillside.
Inside and out, cast-in-place concrete reigns supreme, in corridors illuminated by light shafts, on the floor, or in the vault which descends to the choir. The main design constraint was that the concrete left visible had to be of the highest esthetic quality and provide a link between the two examples of contemporary architecture now adorning the hill.
Local Belfort contractor Albizzati, which placed 4000 cubic meters of concrete between March 2010 and August 2011, turned to concrete manufacturer Belfort Béton of the Roger Martin Group, a client of the Vicat cement division which helped come up with a concrete mix design achieving the best possible finish.