The original school campus could no longer meet the requirements of today, that’s why leading local authorities, the Département Yvelines launched an international competition for the restructuring and enlargement of the school campus in 2015, won by Behnisch Architekten in association with the Atelier 2A+. Some parts of the existing secondary school have been kept and two new buildings built: the primary school and the gymnasium. The goal was to modernise the site of the existing school dating from the 1980s and to link the buildings together with outdoor enhancements to strengthen the identity of the campus.
With the help of the finely coordinated measures of preserving, restructuring and enlargement of the exsting school, a clear address and diverse references to the adjacent landscape have been created. The place encourages the school's community, allows the qualities of the campus environment to be experienced and is a popular meeting place for the German-French community and Buc residents. The concept maintains the street-oriented concrete structure of the 1980s, whilst adding new programme, adjacent to the parc and reflecting the free, organic nature. The design of the site is characterized by the umbrellas that emerge confidently from the park and symbolically raise their protective roof over the school community.
The sustainable design focused on high daylight utilization and natural air conditioning. In the existing buildings, many skylights ensure natural lighting in the classrooms. The parasols also play a key role here. The transparent covering of the umbrella structures allows light to enter. The timber lamellas have two functions: firstly providing shading, secondly acting as a light deflector. This ensures that the building benefits from winter sun whilst being protected from overheating due to direct summer sun penetration. The concept of ventilation includes measures for natural climate control with air being pre-cooled or preheated with ground-coupled heat exchangers.
In the middle of a park landscape with a magnificent tree population, the Lycée Franco-Allemand offers an attractive place of learning for about 1,000 students. The task was to modernize an existing school area with a German-French secondary school, primary school, lower secondary school, and a gymnasium and to link them together via outdoor facilities. The building from the 1980s was completely renovated and partially deconstructed to create space for additions. The school with its binational educational concept is a popular meeting place for the German-French community and Buc residents. The goal was to design a place of exchange that strengthens cohesion and makes the qualities of the surrounding area tangible. Curved wings of the building frame the schoolyard area, in the middle of which inviting parasols raise their protective roof and provide an atmospheric setting for the numerous festivities. While the entrance and street sides are characterized by an orthogonal structure and the preservation of the existing building, the new building sections develop more freely and openly towards the schoolyard and park.
The center of attraction inside is the bright, three-story atrium, whose roof is designed as a translucent, shady parasol. Meeting zones, widening corridors and roof terraces offer a variety of meeting places and harmoniously interweave old and new. The sustainable design focused on a high utilization of daylight and natural air conditioning.
"The Lycée Franco-Allemand is a perfect response to the festive, multicultural and civic aspects of the school. The lively spaces have been designed to allow the school community to meet during special events and to be in permanent interaction, while highlighting the multiple artistic and linguistic skills of the students. The circulation and relaxation areas also guarantee the tranquility and autonomy of the students, the choice of materials and the place of light ensure the well-being of all."
Behnisch Architekten was founded in 1989 and works out of five offices – Stuttgart, Munich, Weimar, Boston and Los Angeles. The firm enjoys a global reputation for high-quality architecture that integrates environmental responsibility, creativity, and public purpose. From the beginning, Behnisch has prioritized the social dimension of architecture and the quality of the urban environment. In over 30 years, the firm has created a diverse portfolio of projects mainly in Europe and North America.
Atelier 2A+ was founded in 1967 and is located in Versailles. Public buildings, housing and facilities programs at all scales reflect the abundance of ideas of the office teams. Common to all are the architectural themes and the basic philosophical approach of Atelier 2A+: Creating architecture that serves the public, sustainable architecture and eco-responsible architecture turned towards the future.