Piquepeyre School

  • area / size 26,910 sqft
  • Completed 2019
  • Location Fenouillet, France,
  • ppa • architectures and Cousy Architectures collaborated to design the Piquepeyre School, a primary school located in Fenouillet, France.

    This project is part of the peripheral urbanisation of the Toulouse conglomeration, transforming surrounding countryside. It is located in Fenouillet, about 10km north of the centre of Toulouse. The site is located in an area that is as yet undeveloped, close to an existing secondary school, in undetermined surroundings with a few private houses. In the desire to develop a new residential neighbourhood, the local council commissioned the creation of this new school, demonstrating their commitment to welcoming future residents and taking the pressure off the nearby Jean Monnet primary school. The project thereby represents an opportunity for urban densification.

    Security concerns regarding schools today determine the building as a closed space, introverted and ultra-secure. From the public space, the building follows the site boundary, creating a barrier and forming a ground-floor base that encloses the site. Accessible from the future neighbourhood square, the entrance area is identified as an opening in this enclosure.

    The horizontality of these buildings brings out the verticality of the ancient oaks present on the site. The U-formation organises the building around this marvellous green heritage, while also giving privacy to the space it creates. In contrast with the external opacity, the facades on the playground side are largely glazed, maintaining a continuous link between the inside and outside. At the centre, the playground is an important element of the brief. All the buildings are arranged, organised and interact around this neutral space, generously proportioned and leaving scope for appropriation by its users. Used by all the classes, this shared space is divided in two by an active strip (incorporating a small sports ground – the “city” stadium – and storage for playground equipment), which creates a limit, orders, assembles, and maintains a relationship between the different users.

    Most of the spaces (nursery, after-school, canteen, administrative offices) are on the ground floor, served by naturally lit circulation framing views onto the playground. The primary school is a compact form on the first floor. The classrooms are organised around a central circulation space, north- and south-facing and giving views over the changing landscape. The mutualisation of services reinforces the careful programming and efficiency of the project. The generic conception of the building ensures that it is readily adaptable to different functions while maintaining an ability to absorb the inevitable evolutions and extensions of use. Fenouillet city is thereby provided with a flexible, performant and cost-efficient tool.

    Design: ppa • architectures and Cousy Architectures
    Photography: Philippe Ruault