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Sou Fujimoto Architects, Manal Rachdi OXO Architectes and Nicolas Laisné Associés, Won the first Prize for the new Learning Centre of the Ecole Polytechnique, in Paris-Saclay.
Location: Paris-Saclay University, France
Phase: Restricted Competition (Competition Winner)
Area: 10 000 m²
Architects: Sou Fujimoto Architects + Manal Rachdi Oxo Architects+ Nicolas Laisne Associes
Perspectives: RSI-studio, Manal Rachdi Oxo architectes. Nicolas Laisné associés.
Model: Jean louis Courtois Model and co.
On March 16th, 2015, the Ecole Polytechnique designated Sou Fujimoto Architects, Manal Rachdi Oxo architects and Nicolas Laisné as winners of the design competition organized for the construction of the new Learning Centre of the Ecole Polytechnique, in Paris-Saclay.
The operation aims to design a single building where study programs will be shared between six education and research institutions as the Ecole Polytechnique, Institut Mines-Telecom, AgroParisTech, ENSTA ParisTech, ENSAE ParisTech and Institut d’Optique (IOGS).
After the first jury, four candidates were finalists: Sou Fujimoto Architects + Manal Rachdi Oxo architects + Nicolas Laisné Associates, Atelier 2/3/4, Babin + Renaud and Chartier Dalix Architectes. The project led by the group Sou Fujimoto, Manal Rachdi Oxo architects and Nicolas Laisné Associates seduced by its openness to the surroundings, its transparency and its porosity. The front glazed façade is covered with a generous canopy while the vegetation is invading the interior space, thus blurring the limits between inside and outside.
As a symbol of the union of the six schools, all of them belonging to the Paris-Saclay University, the learning center becomes a point of convergence, thought of as an extension of the qualities of the adjacent landscaping project.
The building, with an area of approximately 10 000 m² and a budget of € 32.5M, will host 150 staff and welcome 2,000 students within its premises of various typologies. In addition to several lecture halls and numerous classrooms; spaces dedicated to innovative pedagogy will be created. “Distance-learning rooms”, videoconferencing and collaborative working spaces such as “boxes-work” or “project rooms” will optimize the environment for an educational system focused on interactivity and digital tools. The building will also provide a cafeteria and relaxation areas favoring serendipity, itself encouraged by the close proximity of the research laboratories of the Ecole Polytechnique.
The architectural concept: flexibility, mingling and openness
Opening up to the linear park in front, the Learning Center is invaded by nature. Inside, a wide atrium is inhabited by the light vegetation and a series of walkways and staircases creating numerous informal spaces for teachers, students and visitors allowing new places to meet or work. These platforms, the “spontaneous amphitheaters” and the classrooms are united under one roof providing promiscuity and privacy in an intimate relationship with nature.
People won’t pass each other in corridors anymore, but meet in vivid places, in a unique space bathed in soft light, with surprising and changing views. The large transparent facade of the Learning Center opens to the West on the “Green”, a vast public space covered by lawns and partly wooded. The building is thus seen as an open space revealing the activities taking place in its heart and stands as an architectural and academic emblem of the future neighborhood.
The Learning Center, soon to be erected in the heart of the current development area of the École Polytechnique, is representative of the evolution of the urban campus of Paris-Saclay which just entered the operational phase. The campus served by the future train line 18 of the Grand Paris Express will reach a program of a total of 1.740 million square meters.