School center Albert Camus

Coulaines, France
Photo © David Boureau
Photo © David Boureau
Photo © Frederic Delangle
Photo © Frederic Delangle
Photo © David Boureau
Photo © David Boureau
Architects
Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes
Year
2014
Client
Ville de Coulaines

The school center in the 200 km southwest of Paris nearby town Coulaines is composed of a primary school with 8 classrooms, a nursery with day care, a kindergarten, a gymnastic and community hall as well as a library and a school restaurant.
Dietmar Feichtinger architects intended a school that serves not only the transmission of knowledge and values. Instead they pursued the idea to create a place that represents a new reference point in the urban fabric; a place where people meet - where one feels safe and secure - a school center as a new location for all.
The site is located in close proximity to the city center in a heterogeneous structure with multi-storey social housing blocks and single family homes. This structural contrast reflects the ethnic diversity of the population who wants to meet the new academic center as a social link.
The presence of the wooden facade, generous landscaping and the minerality of the new courts become elements generating envy gathering, conviviality and sharing. A large part of the courtyard has been transformed into a garden with vegetables and herbs for the school restaurant.

Primary school, kindergarten, nursery and day care form a narrow annular structure which surrounds a large courtyard. This landscape designed space offers children of all ages various forms of activity and stay. All classrooms and group rooms open towards the courtyard.
The recreation center in the South comprises three activity rooms (which can act as small auditoriums thanks to the bleachers) and various workshops for school activities . The center is directly accessible from the rue de Mouscou but also by the school and the court.
Larch wood in exterior and interior areas contributes to a feeling of harmony and authenticity in accordance with the landscaping, which is also supported by the green roofs of the plant. The new buildings take advantage of the topography of the land and adapt to this. Facades from untreated larch wood slats give the ensemble its own specific identity in the urban space.
The day-care center and nursery are located on the rue de Mouscou in the south, in continuity with the school. The ensemble is completed by a separate unit, the school canteen, in the east. The cantine can be reached any time via the school and the day-care center. The access of the children to all the units, day-care center, school, nursery and kindergarten, is possible by any weather thanks to a polycarbonate canopy.
The main entrance to the primary school and the kindergarten are located in the west on the rue de Paris. The square in front of the entrance continues in form of a wooden canopy on wooden stilts, forming thus a covered entrance area.
The corner between rue de Vienne and the rue de Paris is strategically located in the center of the small town. The volume of the library is thus visible from afar, and announces the new educational facilities; the school becomes an important architectural element in the urban composition. The library is situated in continuaity with the nestled kindergarten in the west and stretches down to the volume comprising the gym in the north.

Competition 2008
Start of planning 04 | 2009
Start of construction 06 | 2010

Surface 7 125 m²

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