architect: Dominique Coulon & associés

location: Colombes, France

year: 2016

The ‘Simone Veil’ group of schools forms a structural element in the urban composition of the new eco-neighbourhood. It is tightly embedded in the dense urban fabric, opposite a park and straddling the maintenance workshops for the new tram line.

photo by David Romero-Uzeda
photo by Eugeni Pons

The building is on three levels. The plot of land is small, and the roof areas are used to house the elementary school’s classrooms and educational gardens. The group also includes a sports hall, a canteen, a library, and out-of-school childcare facilities. The building is very thick; the hollows scooped out of the facades serve as facets, attracting the light and reflecting it back. Many of the traffic routes are lateralised, making them varied and bright. A number of patios irrigate the heart of the building, bringing natural light into its thickness. Internal transparencies add extra richness to traffic routes. On the town side, the building offers a rustic texture. Strips of untreated wood (with the bark left on) emphasise the corresponding roughness. The ground floor has the advantage of transparency through the covered courtyard, offering a glimpse of the multi-coloured playground, which is intended to be a very autonomous and artificial universe. The bright colours transform the space, expanding it to create a place for educational stimulation. This project avoids all form of repetition. The light, the materials used, and the traffic routes create micro-events. These fragments come together in a joyful chaos.

client: Ville de Colombes
architect: Dominique Coulon & associés
architects: Dominique Coulon, Olivier Nicollas
architects assistants: Guillaume Wittmann, Emilie Brichard, Jean Scherer
structural engineer: Batiserf Ingénierie
electrical Engineer: BET G.Jost
mechanical plumbing engineer: Solares Bauen
acoustics: Euro Sound Project
landscape: Bruno Kubler
program: Elementary school12 classrooms / Nursery school 9 classrooms / CLSH Nursery / CLSH Elementary / Dining room / Sports hall
address: Colombes, France
surface: 7600 sqm
budget: 16 300 000 € H.T
competition: december 2010
completion: 2016
photography: Eugeni Pons, Guillaume Wittmann, David Romero-Uzeda