The new Ecole Polytechnique learning center at Paris-Saclay University is a space bathed in natural light, which acts as an extension of the surrounding landscape. Sou Fujimoto Architects, Manal Rachdi OXO Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associates have won the restricted competition to design the new center, which will gather six institutions under one roof. The building's design is intended to reveal activities usually hidden with its open, glass walls.
The Learning Center features a large atrium populated with plants. Instead of conforming to typological stereotypes, the architects opted for a space that looks and feels more like an indoor garden. A series of walkways and staircases form several informal spaces that replace corridors usually found in school and institute design. Platforms function as improvised amphitheaters and offer surprising views of both the atrium and the outside. The 10,000-square-meter building will accommodate 150 staffers and 2,000 students who will engage in collaborative projects and discussions.
The glass facade opens to the west and offers views of the public space covered with lawns. This accentuates the building’s ambition to become an open space that, instead of concealing, reveals the activities taking place behind its transparent walls.