The green-roofed Les Bartelottes school complex on the outskirts of Paris comprises three buildings that combine the sophistication of stainless steel and the warmth of wood. Paris-based NOMADE architectes designed the complex for the town of Ville-du-Bois, located roughly 23 kilometers southwest of Paris, where an increase in population resulted in the need for additional educational facilities.
The nursery, elementary school and gymnasium occupy an area located between the residential neighborhood of Ville-du-Bois and Forêt de la Turaude, a protected woodland. The structures sit perfectly in the surrounding countryside and assert the city’s ambition for urban renewal. Reflective stainless steel was used as cladding material for the most prominent part of the gymnasium, while the volumes of the schools and the caretaker’s accommodation feature timber beams and frames.
The school stands at the southern side of the site and offers a high degree of privacy, compared to the rest of the complex. The taller gymnasium is located on the north part of the plot, where it dominates the view from the road and acts as a kind of bracket from the street for the entrance to the parking lot. The caretaker’s living quarters are located near the entrance, enabling an overview of the whole site, while the administrative offices occupy the building’s northwest corner and connect the nursery and elementary schools.
A green courtyard space is formed by three ponds with plants and shrubs, using water recovered from the rainwater purification system. The patio radiates natural light right to the heart of the school and echoes the surrounding natural environment. Parts of the roof surface are populated with solar panels which significantly reduce the buildings’ energy costs. The gymnasium’s external walls generate solar energy used to heat and ventilate the hall, with solar gain heating the metallic coverings and generating warm air that is then circulated throughout the building.
Photos by Patrick Müller