Jean Lurçat Secondary School
Architect: Mikou Design Studio Client: Conseil General of Seine Saint Denis Programme: units for general scientific and technological education, cafeteria, boarding school, gymnasium, teacher’s residence Budget: 18.0 M € Gross external area (GEA): 12 000 m2 Location: city of Saint Denis Date: competition 2008, first price / under study The college Jean Lurçat in Saint Denis is located in the articulation of two landscape types: a space of shattered non structured housing blocks which give the district its identity and give a convivial scale on the rues Diderot and d’Alembert; the sports park which opens itself towards the landscape of Courneuve and enables the college to have an open view and a strong liaison with the green areas of the city. The college hence is in the middle of the nature surrounded by vegetation and in proximity of the bordering blocks. The challenge of this building, in our opinion, is to adjust itself into the site without creating a screen in the landscape of the park, to articulate to the scale of the blocks by offering the district transverse point of views and visual reference marks that mark the college as a major asset in the urban composition. These thoughts led us to design the college like an ensemble of units in a park. On the one hand these units have a north south orientation which enable an optimal insolation on the site and on the other hand form a curve which emphasises the force of the park. They are connected by open green patios which mark the transparency towards the sports park and by a folded metallic roof which protect the patios from overheating in summer and at the same time create a microclimate in the hanging gardens. This roof expresses the architectural writing of the notional metallic pieces and the aesthetics of the units by introducing the variations and the rhythms of the folded roofs to create a vibrant and coloured façade and the different illumination of each unit. The configuration of the project in units exemplify on the one hand the identity of each school building by creating visual connections and multiple view points towards the interior of the college and on the other hand to have a delicate reading from rue Diderot and to emphasise the integration of the college in the landscape. The specificity of these units lies in the expressive variations and the tonality of the coating of the façade which indicate a vibrating and animated pallet on the rue Diderot. The coating consists of a panel of stainless steel which is more or less polished, undulated and framed horizontal or vertical and coppered for the units of the standardised rooms. All the units benefit from the angled windows and a triple orientation thanks to the lateral openings on the hanging gardens.

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