A school set in the urban fabric of Créteil, France aims to establish a more natural profile with its undulating roof and sustainable design features. The school building rises from the ground like a small hill, allowing the campus to stretch to the roof, adding ribbons of solar panels and green terraces along the way. The prefab building is made of many separated areas for children to play, providing a rich learning environment. The project by Agence Nicolas Michelin & Associés is a perfect example of how good urban design can enrich a learning environment and city while cutting down on the use of resources.
The campus’s layered program is carefully designed to isolate learning environments, setting the main assembly areas, library and media rooms partially below grade and stacking the classrooms above. Two wings stretch out to make a U providing a well protected courtyard for separated by a protected walk.
The sides of the wings taper down to the ground with stairways leading to the roof of the school, making full use of the site for kids to play in. Levels can be cordoned off for smaller groups or opened up to provide outside circulation. The undulating form also dramatically break up the monotony of the urban grid.
Ribbons of green roofs are used as learning gardens and provide important greenscape. Small solar electric arrays are also set on the side of the roof, maximizing available space and emblemizing the schools environmental intention.
The building was prefabricated to speed construction and with floor walls and post all built off-site. The façade is made with tough porcelain tile, adding color and texture to the walls.