The Education Center of Val du Scarpe is the first step — and the first part — of a multipurpose facility that will eventually offer sports and educational activities within this Val de Scarpe district. In the spirit of mutualization and educative continuity, the project follows a strategy that articulates the different facilities – a nursery center; a daycare; an elementary school; a gymnasium, and a community center – all around different layers that outline the shape of the site, towards the river.
The complex is drawn along a north-south axis and is comprised of rooms and spaces whose purposes, themselves, organize and hierarchize the school’s various functions. Depending upon these functions, the further toward the interior of the complex these rooms and spaces are located (therefore, the further from the street), the calmer the atmosphere will be, until reaching —at the core of the complex— exterior spaces that are sheltered and protected.
The Education Center is composed of two large and functional wings that are articulated around a covered atrium, as well as two reception desks and a large psychomotricity room. On Jean Bodel Street, there is a long building at street level harboring shared commodities, activities, and the daycare space, which benefits from generously high ceilings. Care and services intended for adults are situated on the first floor.
A roof in the shape of an “inverted compluvium” at the center of the premises, harbors classrooms around the schoolyard. This roof also covers part of the schoolyard, a space to meet and play. Serviced by two big galleries, the classrooms are opened to both the west and the east and are enriched by shared educational gardens. Alongside the structuring axis, a perception of depths made possible by the transparency of layers of glass is created in the rooms and spaces —towards the sky and in the interior and exterior of the facility.
In order to comply with environmental objectives and very ambitious delivery deadlines, the project follows a strategy that relies on the principle of prefabricated wood structures and several inverted trusses. The warm expressivity of the wood is reaffirmed in the courtyards and in the interior space, while on the streets, a cladding made of green bricks with touches of brass denotes this singular architectural scripture addressed to the city. This “lace” surrounds the wooden building and creates a series of vertical frames responding to the facing factory.