• Programme : Elementary school with 2 apartments
  • Location : Paris 9th arr., 75.
  • 45, rue de la Tour d'Auvergne,
    5 bis cité Charles Godon.
  • Calendar : Competition won : 2003 / Completed : March 2009.
  • Client : Ville de Paris.
  • Architecture team : Hamonic+Masson & Associés : architecte mandataire.
  • BET TCE : SIBAT.
  • environemental : SIBAT.
  • Photographer : Hervé Abbadie.
  • Paysagistes: Gilot Mandel
    Entreprise générale : Francilia
  • Cost : 4,10 M€ HT.
  • Surface : 1 566 m2.

Elementary School, Paris’ 9th arrondissement

Breathtakingly high neighbouring buildings with their brick, plaster and rubble-stone walls and occasional opaque-glass openings testify to a long process of sedimentation; and an 18-metre plot onto the street with a 7 metre slope down to the back of the playground… There was a serious problem of scale. It was impossible to outdo the other buildings heightwise, so we decided to sculpt a horizontal, layered landscape and go against the rule of terracing the ground. We were able to make one single, horizontal playground. The metal serpentine on piles that licks up against the first storey of the neighbouring houses creates a variety of spaces for a range of possible uses.
The serpentine that houses the communal spaces (restaurant and library) creates routes and sequences around the school and avoid the tedium of a simple, multi-storey building. It turns the playground into a space that children can make their own. This gets round the narrowness of the plot. Making holes in and partially covering the building with reflective under-surfaces upgrades the playground. On the street side, the building rises five storeys in a series of different layers of stone, glass, silkscreen-printed green glass, green barred window railings and emalite glass in various shades of green. The layout of the headteacher’s and caretaker’s flats, the central patio and the arrangement of the classrooms between the street and the playground leads users towards the light. This opens up hard-earned space and views of the sky.