Completed in September 2017, the boarding school moved into a newly built facility located on the outskirts of the town of Dammartin-en-Goële, next to a new housing development. It is designed as a compact building that responds to the geometry of the site.
The identity of this project is derived from its brief. As a teenager, living in the place where we are educated raises questions of the distinction between territories and temporalities, and the distance between where we live and the institution where we study.
It is essential to offer intimate and comfortable living spaces, meeting spaces, meeting rooms, quality workspaces. We thought it is perhaps even more important to provide a symbolic distance between the school and home.
It is essential for us that the students can continue to say and think "I'm going to the school; I'm coming back home...”
We have introduced a separation between the ground floor hosting the shared spaces and the upper levels dedicated to accommodation. It creates an outside protected space open to a protected outdoor garden.
The facade and the polished stainless steel ceiling of this veranda multiply reflections and make this sheltered threshold a place extraordinary: high school students pass through the mirror to return home, as if we are going to a secret place.
The volume of the boarding school that emerges from the townscape’s relief is connecting the school with the town. The public amenity becomes a focal point in the town and creates a new centrality. Special attention has been given in detailing of all the elements of the facade. When the window shutters are closed, the boarding school becomes a unique image, playing with light and transforms the building throughout the day.
The residence’s envelope is also part of this desire to create an “elsewhere”. The skin of building is a fiction of nature; it takes on the appearance of a pixelated forest printed on all facades. This optical game transforms the building into a digital wood and gives the school students the opportunity to camouflage and distance themselves, between the place of life and the spaces of learning.
This particular work on the facade is a continuation of several studies developed by the practice and pursued through various projects. Beyond the use for which it is intended, can an architecture take the form of an unusual presence who questions the context in which it resides?