New Construction

  • Building Type : School, college, university
  • Construction Year : 2018
  • Delivery year : 2020
  • Address 1 - street : ZAC Océan Indien 97410 SAINT-PIERRE , France
  • Climate zone : [Aw] Tropical Wet & Dry with dry winter.

  • Net Floor Area : 3 885 m2
  • Construction/refurbishment cost : 10 171 145 €
  • Number of Pupil : 654 Pupil
  • Cost/m2 : 2618.06 €/m2
  • Primary energy need
    158 kWhep/
    (Calculation method : Other )
Energy consumption
Economical buildingBuilding
< 50A
51 à 90B
91 à 150C
151 à 230D
231 à 330E
331 à 450F
> 450G
Energy-intensive building

The new building of the ESIROI (Ecole Supérieure d'Ingénieurs Réunion Océan Indien) is now located on the Terre Sainte university campus, in Saint Pierre on Reunion Island. One wing of the building also accommodates an extension of the IUT (University and Technological Institute) located on the same campus.

It offers innovative architectural solutions to cope with the vagaries of a humid tropical climate, while being as environmentally friendly as possible, while ensuring a working environment at the forefront of innovation and comfortable for these new users.

Its aeraulic operation studied and optimized thanks to studies in a physical wind tunnel, the choice of a mixed metal / light wall structure alternative to all-concrete, and the importance of vegetation within the project are examples of solutions that demonstrate our strong desire to reduce its environmental impact.

Like the future engineers who will be trained there, ESIROI demonstrates local know-how in bioclimatic design with low environmental impact.

Sustainable development approach of the project owner

With this new university building, the client's desire was to create a new training tool, which is as close as possible to environmental needs and the local economic area. In recent years, the University has been keen to set an example in the construction of its new buildings, which are always more innovative and respectful of the environment. We can for example cite the Bioclimatic Amhpithéâtre du Moufia, which is the first amphitheater in a tropical environment to operate only with natural ventilation, or the Enerpos building, the first building for university use to be in positive energy in a tropical climate.

Architectural description

1. Bioclimatic architecture with low environmental impact

Concerned about environmental quality and the importance of energy resilience, we have implemented innovative design strategies adapted to a humid tropical climate where temperatures and humidity levels can be very high, ventilation potential is high and solar irradiation is high all year round.

Some solutions are directly inspired by traditional Creole architecture: Protect from the sun / ventilate / vegetate.

From the beginning of the project, important thought was given to the orientation of the building in order to take advantage of the intensity of the prevailing winds in the hot season, and to minimise it in the cool season. In addition, the work on the orientation makes it possible to create "blind" gables to the east and west, limiting solar gain on the façades. The shape of the building itself, in a "C" shape, optimises the play of pressure/depression, the driving force behind natural ventilation. It should be remembered that sufficient air velocity on the users allows hygrothermal comfort to be achieved even when temperature and humidity levels are high;

Work on thermal zoning. Grouping of rooms with the same cooling strategy. The classrooms and offices on the upper floors are naturally ventilated, with the use of fans when necessary. Only the practical rooms equipped with state-of-the-art professional equipment are air-conditioned and located on the lower levels of the building;

Passive solutions for ventilation: large openings manually adjustable by users on opposite sides of the building to create cross-currents of air, vacuum well systems. Installation of high performance air movers for large volumes to improve comfort in external common areas;

Use of aeraulic engineering to validate, optimise and dimension the natural ventilation of the premises;

Limitation of thermal overheating thanks to effective solar protection. The external common areas are also protected from the sun by the use of tensioned canvas. This required the roof structure to be sized to withstand possible cyclonic seasons;

Installation of efficient equipment to reduce internal thermal loads;

Dense vegetation around and inside the building to take advantage of all the benefits of vegetation such as evapotranspiration, shading, dust absorption etc.

Interior and exterior landscaping combining technical efficiency, environmental and aesthetic aspects (rainwater management, etc.);

Installation of energy production by photovoltaic panels, justified by the high solar irradiation all year round on the site;

Choice to use mixed materials as an alternative to the all-concrete project in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The upper parts of the building are made of metal structures and light facades. An innovative translucent material was used in the façade to take advantage of natural light;

The possibility for users to access the building by soft modes of transport such as cycling or walking, thanks to the presence on site of changing rooms equipped with showers, individual secure lockers as well as adapted parking spaces for vehicles.

2. User involvement for an effective project

Through technical visits of the site to each class of students and administrative staff, all users are made aware of the environmental aspects of the project.

3. A pleasant place to live

Offering pleasant, green, outdoor common areas that are comfortable and open to the Reunion Island landscape was a prerequisite for ensuring quality of life and teaching in this new building.

This new building therefore offers a working space adapted to the environment, friendly and planted to its users, and is intended to be a new example of local know-how in terms of bioclimatic building design.

Building users opinion

As the building was recently delivered, we have not yet been able to formally identify the opinions of users. However, by discussing with some people it emerges that the building provides a pleasant, friendly working environment, making it possible to convey the know-how necessary for each training course.

If you had to do it again?

We would have improved the exterior fittings in order to make the most of the shaded, vegetated and ventilated exterior spaces that have been designed.

See more details about this project
 Le projet a été étudié sur la base du référentiel PREBAT-REUNION, demarche de qualité,mis en place par l’ADEME Réunion, qui récompense les bâtiments à faible impact environnemental

Photo credit

Herve Douris


Construction Manager


    Assistance to the Contracting Authority


    Jean Pierre Wuillermoz

    Client assistant

    Other consultancy agency





    Castel et Fromaget




    Jardin Créole






    Riviere Schindler






    Hoareau Plafond





Type of market

Global performance contract

Energy consumption

  • 158,00 kWhep/
  • 330,00 kWhep/
  • Other

    Interior lighting: 6.9 kWh / m².year Outdoor lighting: 2.8 kWh / m².year DHW: 0.4 kWh / m².year Air circulators: 2.4 kWh / m².an Air conditioning: 17.4 kWh / m².year VMC: 1.8 kWh / m².year Office: 6.6 kWh / m².year Elevators: 0.4 kWh / m².year Other: 9.2 kWh / m².year

Real final energy consumption

    48,00 kWhef/

More information

Standard building ratio: 100 to 120 kWh / m²SU / year


    • No heating system
    • Solar Thermal
    • Water chiller
    • Fan coil
    • Natural ventilation
    • Nocturnal ventilation
    • compensated Air Handling Unit
    • Solar photovoltaic
    • Solar Thermal

    A 100 kWp roof photovoltaic farm will soon be installed on site.


    • Earthquake
    • Wind / Cyclone

Urban environment

  • 3 550,00 m2
  • 68,00 %
  • 1 300,00
  • 1. Climatic master plan - topographical, solar and aeraulic bias

    The site has been largely reworked (see soil study, several metres of fill), probably during the construction of the various buildings. However, there is a general North/South slope, corresponding to the slope of the sector, and a slope towards the East. It is also located in a high position and therefore its perception from afar will be strong.

    A general organisation in strips parallel to the slope allows the optimisation of earth movements and the limitation of the visual impact of the buildings.

    This orientation, linked to the topography of the land, is also the ideal orientation for teaching rooms, as it allows lateral lighting without visual disturbance (no low incidence).

    Finally, this orientation also allows for good natural ventilation, optimising the SE directions of the trade winds in the hot season and minimising them in the cold season (eastern sector) and according to our aeraulic concept developed elsewhere.

    The project thus offers blind gables to the east and west (except for the bridge building, whose west and east facades are protected by the canopy and a wood filter), limiting the contributions from these facades. From all points of view, this general orientation of the ground plan seems ideal.

    2. Landscaping

    The landscape design tends to emphasise the building's crossing and traversing effect. The Campus Mall runs alongside the ESIROI building at its heart, transcending and linking it to its urban environment. Thus, the landscape treatment reveals the eminently intertwined character of the inside / outside within the building.

    The geometrical organisation of the layout responds to a longitudinal logic that underlines the main direction of the building's layout. Slabs, planters and furniture all respond to this direction. The play of offsets in the third dimension makes it possible to create a constructed and deconstructed landscape that is coherent and in close dialogue with the architecture. The planters sink or spring up, creating games of sub-spaces, the slabs on the ground become detached to offer seats, pierce to draw a basket, stretch to join a planter cut-out, incline to accompany a rainwater flow towards the gardens. The lush, tiered vegetation of the planters has its own three-dimensional play and will bring a touch of poetic and joyful breath to the rhythm of the development of life.

    The campus mall connects from the RU (University Restaurant) to the UFR and the future centrality through the university park in the talweg. The other direction, perpendicular to the first, runs towards the bottom of the campus to connect to the pre-existing axis along which the forecourts (ENERPOS + ESIROI) are spread out. It allows to reach the IUT below.

    This choice places ESIROI at the heart of its campus, while making it an obvious passage. Passage, but not incursion. Through the interplay between the architecture, the landscaped slab and the subtle management of levels and flows, the campus mall makes it possible to cross, observe and rub shoulders with the building without disturbing or disturbing it. Because of its location at the junction of the ESIROI and the IUT extension, this landscaped and frequented line creates a seam while emphasising the distinction.

    As it passes through the heart of the building, the three-dimensional design motif flows into the central space of the ESIROI, the canopy.  The overflow of the Corten steel planters towards the lower level of the building embellishes the whole with an abundance of vegetation. The thickening of the landscape treatment within ESIROI attaches the building to the rest of the campus like a swelling lung, an independent educational and academic organ that is nonetheless essential to the functioning of the whole.

    The abundance of vegetation extends thickly to the esplanade on the gully side, giving an impression of penetration of the natural space of the gully towards the building.

    Beyond these symbolic and aesthetic considerations, the vegetation plays a multitude of functional roles which contribute to the smooth running of the building and the comfort of its users:

    •    Refreshing the interior atmosphere;
    •     Shading of the exterior spaces (entrance square, rise from the IUT, connection to the RU, esplanade of the ravine, etc.)
    •     Temporisation of surface and roof rainwater within part of the planted areas to avoid the need for an underground network and minimise downstream discharges;
    •     Participation in a calm and gentle atmosphere;
    •     Participation in the organisation of the interior spaces and in the accompaniment of flows;
    •     Curtain reducing the strong prevailing winds at the level of the esplanade of the ravine;
    •     Dust filter and partial depollution of the interior spaces;
    •     Creation of a vegetated roof terrace above the IUT extension and all the advantages linked to such a choice (roof insulation, limitation of the project's impermeability, rainfall temporisation upstream of the outlets, etc.);

    In general, outdoor gardens contribute to rainwater management. The idea is to limit as much as possible the creation of buried networks by keeping as much as possible on the surface the path of the drop of water which expresses itself and is thus understood through the landscape. Thus, obstacles to the planted areas calibrated to receive water will be avoided. The soils will be composed of mixtures of topsoil, earth and stone and cyclopean blocks in order to increase the temporization of the water while being favourable to the clinging of the plants.




    Gros œuvre / Structure, maçonnerie, façade

    Danpalon® panel is developed from a high quality synthetic material, polycarbonate, and its performance is certified by certification bodies. Its translucency allows excellent light transmission, which reduces the amount of artificial lighting required in the premises.

Construction and exploitation costs

  • 1 330 000
  • 10 171 145

Indoor Air quality

    The concept of a building with natural comfort ventilation (only the practical work rooms located on the lower levels are air-conditioned) makes it possible to obtain excellent air quality. In addition, the green environment around the building, as well as the possibility for users to use environmentally friendly modes of transport, also participate in the capture and reduction of pollutants.

GHG emissions


  • 828,00 KgCO2 /m2
  • The calculation was made on the basis of a tool adapted to overseas departments as part of a study funded by ADEME and AQC.

Reasons for participating in the competition(s)

This new building at the University of Reunion has been designed with respect for the environment and energy resilience in mind. The solutions implemented are adapted to a humid tropical climate where the temperatures and the humidity level can be very high, the ventilation potential consequent and the solar irradiation important all the year. Some solutions are directly inspired by traditional Creole architecture : Protect from the sun / ventilate / Vegetate.

Operation in natural ventilation is possible thanks to a reflection from the start of the design on the orientation of the building, its shape and its location on the site. The distribution of premises and common spaces, as well as their organization allow the creation of drafts, resulting from the pressure / depression games on the facades. The local expertise of the interveners as well as the aeraulic expertise of our partners have also made it possible to optimize the ventilation principles during wind tunnel tests, by taking advantage of the intensity of the prevailing winds in the hot season, and by minimizing it by cool season.

The building is also largely protected from the sun, both at the level of its facades and at the level of the outdoor common areas, covered by stretched canvas systems. These additional protections allow users to benefit from comfortable user-friendly pitches, protected from the sun and rain but yet ventilated, even in the hot season.

Particular attention has been paid to revegetation and interior and exterior landscaping treatments in order to combine technical efficiency, environmental and aesthetic aspects.

In addition, the choice of mixed materials made it possible to offer an alternative to the all-concrete building , still too present in new constructions.

It was designed according to the PREBAT-REUNION approach, a quality approach which rewards buildings with low environmental impact, supported by ADEME Réunion.




 University building eco-design revegetation bioclimatism materials and solutions tertiary building Reunion IUT eco-renovation bio-sourced insulation energy self-consumption energy storage Resilient Buildings Trophies 2022

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antoine perrau


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