The first intervention exclusively devoted to conservation was initiated by State Services between 2002 and 2007. It included the entire conservation of the roof of the central wing and library, and some conservation of the monumental stairway.
In 2009, a decision was taken by the Municipality of Reims. It welcomed the new French-American campus of Political Sciences, which propelled the scheme into an unexpected direction. However, the programme matched the initial vocation of the site. The architectural position was very clear by establishing distinct heritage features while carefully considering the heritage areas such as the monumental stairway, the refectory, the kitchen and the library, side by side with other resolutely contemporary features. On the contrary, it embodies the search for an architectural « atmosphere », an architecture respectful and in sympathy with the monument.
The Collège des Jésuites in Reims was constructed at the beginning of the 17th century, like most buildings in France of the « Compagnie de Jésus ». The Jesuits established in 1609 on the lands given by François Brulart, Abbott of Valroy. In 1616, the Jesuits acquire the Benedictine priory, whose chapel was merged to the parish Church of Saint-Maurice.
The buildings of the college have been built during following phases, from 1617 to 1678. The North Wing, which overlooks the square dominated by the Saint-Maurice Church and the chapel wing are the most ancient features of the site. They correspond to the plans of the construction campaign of 1610-1620.
The South Wing which encloses the Fathers’ courtyard dates from 1678. It is flanked by the pavilion which includes the spacious stairway situated to the West, and the Magneuses pavilion, to the East. In 1762, when the « Compagnie de Jésus » was expelled from the French Kingdom, the College became the General Alms House of the City of Reims. It includes « Les Magneuses », an orphanage for girls, established by Mrs Colbert de Magneux in 1791. The medical function continued until 1966, to the seminal date of the acquisition of the entire site by the Municipality.
Features of particular historical and architectural value, such as the library, the spacious stairway, refectories were ready made for the best and most respectful techniques in restoration and conservation. The less « noble » features are re-cast in a contemporary mode and will greet the students of « Sciences-Po » on the French and American Campus.
In 2008, under the Contracting Authority of the DRAC Champagne-Ardenne, the conservation including the library and the enclosed/covered facilities of the central wing was finished. In 2011-2012, under the Contracting Authority of the City of Reims, the final phase phase of the work was completed and was able to welcome the first of the new students of « Sciences-Po ».••
- LocationReims (51000)
- ClientDRAC Champagne-Ardenne / Ville de Reims
- Schedule2 phases / 2005-2007 et 2011-2012
- Cost/Area8 M € HT
- TeamFrançois Chatillon, architecte