Coldefy, founded by Thomas Coldefy and Isabel Van Haute, started out as a family business. With over 15 years of experience and numerous awards, Coldefy has become a recognized architectural firm around the globe. When it comes to design, Coldefy focuses on clarity, urbanity, and phenomenology. Their belief that the simplest and clearest design can yield the strongest impact for its inhabitants also drives their projects. In this article, 10 iconic projects by Coldefy that highlight their creativity will be discussed.
Hong Kong Design Institute | Coldefy
Completed in 2011, Hong Kong Design Institute was designed for the usage of 4,000 students within four departments for a University. As an educational infrastructure, Coldefy wanted the design to fulfill an ambition for synergy but also to be able to express the identity of each specialty. The raising of the Institute enabled the transformation of the base into a large public and green space for social interaction. The huge pillars which accommodate the classrooms and support the institute structurally symbolize the ‘pillars of education’.
Re-establishing the connection between humans and nature through architecture has been a design driver for many architects. At Coldefy, they were able to bring to life Tropicalia (2023), which is a tropical greenhouse that reconnects visitors with creatures in a region where the climate is harsh. It allows discovery and wonders as well as learning about the diversity of flora and fauna.
Architecturally speaking, the design’s immersion with its landscape created a seamless fabric of uninterrupted green space. The building being partially embedded into the ground also helps reduce its height and impact. The height of the dome also allows the complete growth of the trees in the greenhouse.
Wellness Center ‘Villa Yoga’
Resonating with their design ethos, Coldefy has designed the Bondues Villa Yoga wellness center with simple structural forms that yield great impact. The elements of the architecture have formal clarity and are in harmony with the surrounding nature. The building sits elevated above the ground and provides a seating area overlooking the vast green space. The large bay windows exude transparency and connect the interiors with the exterior when opened, removing the boundary that defines internal and external spaces. The connection with nature aligns with the program of the villa: to relax and take care of one’s well-being.
The New Town of Yennenga
A larger-scale project with the vision of consistent and harmonious living for the entire Yennenga town center was proposed in 2017 with a master plan and urban strategy. The town-center project was built around a green axis and so the proposal focuses on the landscaped areas to preserve the uniqueness of the site. The new town of Yennenga should contribute to the increase in living standards of Burkina residents by offering diverse ways of living and working. Each master planning proposal is tailored specifically for each community to adapt to the needs of the population.
Secondary School Paul-Duez Cambrai | Coldefy
The new Education Hall housing the Paul Duez Secondary School is a municipal sports facility next to the renovation of the Sernam railway Hall. The extension spans across the preserved tree-lined greenery and offers an abundance of green space to visitors. The building resembling the architectural form of the classic shape of the Hall is the first to be built in wood in the North of France. The Paul-Duez Secondary School will also be the first to be certified HQE ‘sustainable building’ in the North of France. This showcases Coldefy’s commitment to sustainable development while respecting the environment and prioritizing the quality of life.
Rigot Stalars is the extension and rehabilitation of a former spinning mill into a hybrid space with a mixture of offices, co-working spaces, a school, a nursery, a cafeteria, and a drone park at the entrance of the city of Dunkirk. The interventions of the extensions are of discreet presence to not disrupt the appearance of the existing industrial building. Extensions are constructed horizontally so their height imposes minimal disturbance to the old building. The use of glass and metal on the exterior compliments the idea of discretion while the interior usage of light-colored wood creates the desirable warmth and calm atmosphere.
Lycée Hôtelier International de Lille
Lycée Hôtelier International de Lille (LHIL) is a rehabilitation and extension project in France. The historical industrial site was transformed into a building composed of hotels, food trades and catering, a public gym, a boarding school, a variety of shops and four-bedroom housing units with garages. The design driver for this project was to rehabilitate the existing large structures and open spaces of the complex while retaining its industrial heritage. The halls that were kept bring forth the monumental scale while the new proposed structures share a similarity of tectonics and materiality with the existing building.
Collège Lucie Aubrac
Collège Lucie Aubrac is a secondary school located in a French residential neighborhood. It is the first secondary school in the region to achieve the BBC label (Low Energy Consumption Building). The organization of the space of the project is fluid, allowing easy orientation among visitors. The four principal poles of the school are defined: cultural activities are carried out along the entry plaza, the courtyard is classified as a ‘teaching space’, sports facilities for interior and exterior sports programs, and a cafeteria along a vegetation axis.
MKNO – C40 Reinventing Cities
This project is located along the Ourcq Canal in Bobigny, France, and the MKNO Project aims to strengthen the service and recreational network in Bobigny. The project provides a mixed program of residences for young workers and students, family housing, hotels, offices, and many more. Footbridges and piers are placed between infrastructure. These structures not only function as connections between buildings but also highlight the canal that the urban fringe runs along. The mixture of different architectural forms brings forward a unique urban fabric.
National Pulse Memorial & Museum | Coldefy
National Pulse Memorial & Museum is the winning entry from Coldefy for an international competition organized by one PULSE Foundation to honor the victims affected by the shooting at Pulse LGBTQ+ nightclub on June 12, 2016. 49 trees were planted in the garden and 49 colors were used in the design in memory of the 49 victims. The design includes a spiraling Museum and an educational center, together with a variety of open and green spaces.
Coldfy’s architectural projects are an embodiment of their vision and endeavor to design creative and functional buildings. They also show design rigor while achieving sustainability goals. With multiple studios across the world, it is exciting to see what Coldefy has to offer for different communities.