Working on the master plan drawn up by the agency XDGA and landscape designer Michel Desvignes in this dynamic of urban renewal with a strong identity provided an opportunity for an extremely stimulating experience for us. The project is located on Plateau de Saclay at Gif-sur-Yvette, not far from Paris. It is totally in line with the plan for building proportions proposed by the town's planners. The Moulon group of schools, is generously porous to the west, while the buildings on the other three sides create a protective envelope around the playgrounds. The different entrances (nursery school, primary school, leisure area) are all positioned on Moulon's pedestrian route and, as a result, the group of schools establishes a close relationship with the public space. The neighbourhood in which the group of schools is located comprises very light-coloured buildings - mainly white and pale grey - in a four-square design. Our project affirms its status as a public facility by conspicuously placing it in direct contrast to this context, by its use of colour. The facades on the edge of the plot offer a pixelated gradation of colour of the bricks that ranges from white through to black, contrasting not only with their surroundings but also with the heart of the building. This in turn is highly coloured, in blue and sharp orange, given extra personality by a definite play of diagonals: for both the floor plan and the cross section of the building and for both the exterior and the interior, we have made every effort to get away from an orthonormal system. Then nursery school and its playground (eight classrooms), the out-of-school reception area (eleven classrooms), the canteen and the sports hall are all on the ground floor. The primary school (twelve classrooms) spreads over the remaining two floors. Its playground is on the roof, giving the children in the two schools places that are clearly differentiated. There are also common areas, such as the library and the documentation center, the multi-activity room, the DIY room, as well as the motor skills room. In this way we provide the various components of the group of schools with their own separate identity, creating specific places and contrasts that constitute markers for the children. This makes the facility, despite its imposing appearance, appear smaller, on the scale of its young users, and so much more convivial.
Located in the heart of Strasbourg, Dominique Coulon & Associés is a firm of architects of national and international renown.
For more than 25 years, the agency has earned a reputation for the quality of the public facilities it designs. It has worked on a wide and varied range of programmes, including a media library, music school, auditorium, school complex, swimming pool, sports facilities, a residential home for the dependent elderly, and housing. The agency has received many awards and distinctions.
Dominique Coulon and his associate Steve Lethos Duclos allow their intuition to lead the way as they seek to develop contextual projects that combine contrast and complexity, where the outer envelope hints at inner richness. Spatial quality and natural light are fundamental elements in every project: space is always controlled by precise geometry.