25.1.2012

Bailly School Complex in Saint-Denis, France

El complejo de la escuela Bailly, situado en una zona industrial en las afueras de París, es la piedra angular para la reurbanización del barrio de Plaine Commune. Siguiendo la Rue de Bailly, el edificio toma la forma de una pared abandonada alineada a la calle, con un ligero retroceso que define la plaza de la entrada. Inspirada en el contexto del lugar y con una nueva forma, esta plaza se diferencia de su entorno por los colores brillantes de sus cubiertas, el tratamiento de las fachadas de ladrillo de vidrio y la disminución de su escala a nivel de los peatones. El techo en sí es un factor crucial para el proyecto. Es verdaderamente una quinta fachada, percibida por los niños como una luminosa paleta de brillantes colores.

The Bailly school complex, situated in an industrial zone in the suburbs of Paris, forms the cornerstone for the redevelopment of the city district of Plaine Commune. Engaging the Rue de Bailly, the building takes the form of an inhabitable wall aligned the street, with a slight setback defining the entrance plaza.

Taking inspiration from the site’s context and giving it new form, this plaza differentiates from its surroundings with the bright colours of its shed roofs, the treatment of the façades in glazed brick and the diminution of the building scale down to the pedestrian level. The roof itself is a crucial factor of the project. It is truly the fifth façade, perceived from the rue de Bailly by children as a bright, luminous colour palette and from surrounding high buildings as strips of vegetation interrupted by sheds.

The entrance plaza was designed as a space of interaction between the schools and recreation centre with playful awnings protecting it from the elements. The fritted glass on the upper façades protects the intimacy of the children in the school, yet allows views into the courtyard gardens and onto the colourful undersides of the roofs. The glazed brick façades of the plaza extend in to the building, becoming a brick paved interior street which connects the building’s various functions.

The classrooms are organized in two story transversal strips oriented north-south which extend out from the Rue de Bailly to the railway tracks behind the school. These strips give form to the interior gardens and, in collaboration with a translucent glass screen, provide acoustical barriers from the noisy surroundings. This configuration also minimizes the amount of the building exposed directly to the noise from the street and railways.

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The preschool and the elementary school yards are located laterally in contrast to the areas for the teachers. Placed on the north and south end of the site, they are visually and acoustically protected om the west by a screen made of circular tubes of different densities which also absorb the noise during recess periods. Each schoolyard is visually extended one level higher by the garden, accessible via a ramp connected to the schoolyard. These gardens, important for the class rooms on the upper levels, enable children to get fresh air between lessons and connect with the schoolyard while walking on the protected and planted promenade.

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