PROGRAMME The town of Courbevoie took the decision to build the new Sonia Delaunay school after the joining together of Florian and Hugo, two existing pre-schools. The new school includes nine classrooms and five other rooms for after-school and extra-curricular activities spread over 3000m². The programme included restructuring the existing premises and an extension with a new reception area with a lodge, three extra classrooms, offices, meeting rooms and toilet facilities, extensions to the motricity room and the canteen and an assembly hall. The premises were also brought up to norms in terms of accessibility, fire and the re-heating room. The outside spaces, playground area and garden (3000m²) were entirely refurbished.
CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW EXTENSION (on stilts, in the centre) The existing slope on the ground and the disparity between the existing buildings (from the thirties and the eighties) meant that an extension would simultaneously be a “link” and an “articulation” inserted into the existing buildings thus providing the school with a “new identity”. “Link”: the building located at the centre of the site physically links the two existing school buildings and allows children to go from one building to another sheltered from the elements. “Articulation”: The construction of the building in half-floors that are accessible by half stairs (+ a double-entry lift), allows traffic to move from the existing level 0 to the three other levels:+1m50, -1m, +3m40 (classes on the platform).
“TREE HOUSE” CLASSROOMS “New identity”: the new building is located at the heart of the site and inserts itself with precision between the existing buildings, while standing out thanks to its contemporary style and architectural lines. The activity rooms are elevated and open out in a curved balcony. Underneath them we find the extension to the canteen, the toilet facilities and a big hall. The lodge slots in between the two with a panoramic view both of the ramp that access the school and the playground.
A BUILDING DESIGNED AS A MULTI-FACETED SCULPTURE The new edifice was moulded by the architect to fulfil a number of objectives: - To provide the school with a new facade - To facilitate the arrival of parents and children with a slight ramp - To locate the lodge and the principal’s office with a direct view of the access ramp - To allow access for maintenance vehicles in the school yard - To be a building that is both closed and welcoming
EXECUTION and DETAIL The architects and the engineering office produced all of the plans and details for their execution. This included rundowns for all contractors involved on the building site (15 lots for the general building contractor : Lainé-Delau, VINCI construction) A technical detail was devised to avoid using slabs on paving supports that are not suitable for a school yard and to make the roof look like a real floor as it will be accessed by the children. The raised platform has a sloped concrete topping and a layer of tarmac. The hidden waterproofing is folded under the metal railing attached with chemical pegs “à l’anglaise” (mounted). The lack of acroterion and the transparency of the guardrail gives a lighter, almost vertigo effect. The children have a steep view of the yard below and a real connection with the sky. They feel like they can touch the tops of the trees.
A ROOFTOP GARDENING CLASS The roof of the canteen houses a large U-shaped flowerbed so the children can grow plants and flowers depending on the season. The activity rooms and the teachers’ meeting room open directly on to the roof garden.
ACTIVITY ROOM with windows at the children’s level. From the inside, the new activity rooms “breathe”. They are directly connected to the outside, to open the children up to their surroundings. The wide opening on ground level lights the room without dazzling. Underneath, THE CANTEEN with windows on both sides.
During the first phase (12 months), the children were housed in the existing school (Hugo) and in the temporary buildings in the yard. Once the extension and the refurbishment of the Florian school was finished, the school was shifted back in for a four-month period. When the project was finished, the school and the “centre de loisirs” could spread out over the whole premises which cover 3000m² int + 3000m² of outside space.
OUTSIDE SPACE and ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY The yards and play areas were entirely reworked: a coloured hill with a tunnel was built, a ramp for people with reduced mobility was added, the ground and plants were landscaped. The roof area of the extension has been planted, the facades have been insulated, the interior spaces acoustically treated. Natural light is used to make the rooms as bright as possible, giving rise to energy savings.