Benfeld Aristide Briand Primary School / Lionel Debs Architectures

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Benfeld Aristide Briand Primary School / Lionel Debs Architectures
© Emmanuel Kuhn

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Benfeld Aristide Briand Primary School / Lionel Debs Architectures
© Emmanuel Kuhn

Aristide Briand Primary School is located in the historical city center of Benfeld, a small city of 5.000 inhabitants in the East of France.

The school takes place in a middle-aged dense urban fabric, with plenty of historical buildings, also really crowded especially during the weekly fruit market.

Benfeld Aristide Briand Primary School / Lionel Debs Architectures
© Emmanuel Kuhn

Due to a lack of space to welcome the 300 subscribed children, the City decided to organize an architecture competition in order to renovate the whole existing building and to add a new building with extra classrooms, a new entrance lobby and a shared multi-functional hall.

Benfeld Aristide Briand Primary School / Lionel Debs Architectures
© Emmanuel Kuhn

A large series of specific constraints acted directly on the project: the high level of the water table and the low ground bearing capacity leaded to a precise location of the project with adapted bedrocks. Besides, the historical context and the city regulation implied to limit the building height and to propose a smooth visual link to the neighborhood.

Benfeld Aristide Briand Primary School / Lionel Debs Architectures
© LDA

The new building is connected to the existing one on its edge offering the entrance hall to be at the crossroads of every people flow and creating a link between the market place at the East and the gardens on the opposite side.

The wide see-through entrance hall welcomes a monolithic concrete stair to reach all the levels of both the new and existing buildings. On the ground floor, the children have access to the shared part of the school : the multi-functional hall and the computer room.

Benfeld Aristide Briand Primary School / Lionel Debs Architectures
© Emmanuel Kuhn

All the classrooms are located in the upper levels as a cantilever over the cover yard.

Inside as outside, the project is defined by a relationship between noble and raw materials : concrete, natural wood elements, woodfiber ceiling panels for inside, handmade bricks, wood panels and matt lacquered aluminium for the façades and natural zinc for the rooffing.

Benfeld Aristide Briand Primary School / Lionel Debs Architectures
© LDA

Two wide 30-meter-long skylight windows on the roof bring a very big amount of natural light into the building. It is also an easy way to ventilate naturaly the classrooms during the summer.

Project Details:
Location: Benfeld, France
Type: Educational
Area: 1500 m2, 700m2 new building and 800m2 renovation of existing building
Architects: Lionel Debs Architectures
Photographs: Emmanuel Kuhn

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