architect: Dominique Coulon & associés
location: Montpellier, France
The school unit by Dominique Coulon & associés is part of Montpellier’s dynamic for development, the aim being to connect the city with the sea. The school is set on a small triangular plot of land, in keeping with the urban policy for densifying a new residential area.
The ground floor is taken up by the nursery school and the centre for before- and after-school activities. The primary school occupies the other two floors, with its playground on top of the nursery school. The volumes are designed as autonomous elements which appear to slide over each other, with their cantilevering providing covering for sections of the playground. Each volume is in a different colour or material. The bays have been designed according to their orientation and the level of light required.
Transit routes receive natural lighting from the patios and tall openings. The first-floor classrooms can be accessed directly from the playground, without having to pass through the rest of the building. The classrooms are open at either end, and hence face both north and south. This produces ideal lighting conditions, as well as natural cooling by the passage of air through the classrooms from one end to the other.
Client: Comune di Montpellier
Architect: Dominique Coulon & associés Dominique Coulon, Steve Letho Duclos
Architect assistants: Fanny Liénart, Olivier Poulat
Structural Engineer: Batiserf Ingénierie
Program: Nursery school / Elementary school / Day nursery / Dinning room
Surface : 3444 smq
Budget : 7 300 000 €
Competition : March 2012
Completion: September 2015
Photography: ©Eugeni Pons, Photographer