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Nicolas Vernoux-Thélot graduated from ENSAV (Ecole Nationale d’Architecture de Versailles) in 1999 with a DPLG degree in architecture and from Paris VIII University in 2000 with a master degree in hypermedia.From 2001 to 2003, he worked in renowned international architecture firms such as Eisenman Architect in New York.In 2003, he started his own practice based in Paris and in 2008, he created his firm : IN SITU ARCHITECTURE.His work has been featured in many architecture and design publications. In 2010, he received the prestigious French award, the “Prix Public des Architectures Contemporaines de la Métropole Parisienne ».The firm currently has projects in France and abroad that include different programm such as residential housing, resort, office, villa...
This project is located in Nianing, approximately one hundred kilometers south of Dakar on what is known as the “shell coast”. The project takes the shape of a shell as its starting point and develops it architecturally in accordance with the constraints of the brief, the site specifics, and the building’s optimal bioclimatic positioning.The space envisioned will be a slender spiral composed of three types of vault: (1) a surbased vault known as a “basket handle” that allows for maximal coverage of ground surface area necessary for the nave; (2) the full-arch vault that consists of a semi-circle and corresponds to the altar space; and finally, (3) the pointed vault that spirals up into an ellipse to become the bell tower. This play on space simulateously closes in the North, to protect the building from the hot and dry winds of the Harmattan, and opens towards the West to welcome the cooling trade winds from the sea. The bell tower functions as a veritable “wind tower” that uses natural convection to bring the trade winds into the building and create natural ventilation.