area 129 | urban architecture

location: Paris, France

year: 2011

This project is the expression of several conceptual ideas that guided our team work from competition stage to building completion.
The school existed since 1908 and was looking for a new identity. It is located near Montparnasse Station in Paris, a city which is often viewed as colorless. Nevertheless, its environment is crowded with brick façades, offering a color palette ranging from the old building’s yellow to the red of the Bourdelle’s Museum opposite.
Its morphology simultaneously expresses the urban regulation gauge and the will to open the block towards the city, hence expanding the urban space. A glazed double-facade wraps up the building extension and protects it from sunrays. Its patterns evoke in one hand the idea of a “brise-soleil”; on the other, its serigraphy recalls the brickwork palette and metrics. The glazed louvered shutter combination generates a random fabric of an abstract unity. Color is treated like matter: from red to yellow, from yellow to red. Meanwhile integrated, the building assumes its autonomy. The motorized louvers allow users to control sunlight. Their movement generates a building whose appearance changes constantly; it never looks the same. This dynamic effect is increased by reflection and diffraction on the façade. The colors evolve from pastels in the winter to fluorescent shades in the summer. Almost imperceptible variations of the louvers plan deconstruct the surrounding’s reflection of the sky and the built environment into moving pixels.