Completed in summer 2020, the Simone de Beauvoir School in Drancy, France placed an architectural focus on spatial aspects, function and sustainability. Architects from Bond Society and Daudré-Vignier & Associés collaborated on a brand new elementary school, including 10 classrooms, gathering spaces, a restaurant and playground.
The design placed an emphasis on natural lighting and a continual flow throughout the spaces. This open concept includes fixed furnishings, storage and benches, but eliminates narrow passages or copious walls to confine the space.
Architects prioritized the health of the students and the planet through careful material selections. They used the RT 2012 thermal and environmental objectives as their guide. With this in mind, they used wood as the primary building material, which is not only a natural material, but reduces the need for concrete and supports the local forestry industry. Wood is also a renewable resource and acts as a sponge for CO2. In the areas where stone was used, materials were sourced nearby from the Vassens quarries in the Aisne.
Located in a dense residential neighborhood, the Simone de Beauvoir elementary school shares commonalities with the nearby Jacqueline Quatremaire kindergarten and the municipal La Farandole nursery school.
Although nearby, Simone de Beauvoir creates a natural and manmade separation from the adjacent schools through fencing and plants. The building itself is oriented towards the inner courtyard to create an isolation from the surrounding distractions. However, the courtyard also loosely connects to the kindergarten to form a familiarity for children transitioning from one school to the other while keeping the areas separate.
Inside there is a reception hall, administrative center, food service area and teaching facilities. Another of the four hubs in the design is made up of the leisure center, which acts as a dividing line and simultaneously a connection point to the existing nursery school. The space also incorporates a multi-purpose room, storage room and an open-air garden used as a tool for education and for a healthy, clean-air learning environment.
Photography by Charly Broyez