Simone de Beauvoir School

  • area / size 22,604 sqft
  • Completed 2020
  • Location Paris, France,
  • Daudré-Vignier & Associés and Bond Society collaborated to bring function, brightness, and comfort to the Simone de Beauvoir School in Paris, France.

    For their project Simone de Beauvoir School in Drancy (93), France, Bond Society and Daudré-Vignier & Associés have based their intentions on three principal notions: spatial quality, functionality, and sustainable demand.

    Delivered in 2020, this brand-new elementary school consisting of 10 classes, a leisure centre, and a school restaurant, pays particular attention to routes and views between its architectural volume and the lighting sources. Interior transparencies escape the feeling of confinement, and two double-height patios draw natural light and spatiality into the circulation patterns. Far from being simple passages, these spaces are punctuated with custom-made fixed furnishings that integrate storage and benches. The scale of the building, the flexibility of the interior layouts, and the choice of colors make it easier for children to navigate.

    Furthermore, the visible wooden post / beam structure is an important intention of the project and illustrates an environmental example that raises the awareness of young and old alike.

    Constructing a public building requires a conceptual, technical, aesthetic, and symbolic approach.

    A public school on a neighborhood scale
    The Simone de Beauvoir elementary school is respectfully located in the heart of a dense residential neighborhood surrounded by soothing wooded areas. It is part of a school context already present with the Jacqueline Quatremaire kindergarten, as well as the municipal La Farandole nursery school.

    Additionally, this project takes the form of two wooden quadrilaterals placed on a limestone plinth, largely glazed on the courtyard side and closed at the rear on the public space side. It is established in an L-shaped composition to provide optimal free floor space, on one hand, and to create a boundary with Jules Guesde square on one side, and two 18-storey residential towers on the other.

    A spatial quality and flexibility providing comfort and brightness
    In accordance with City of Drancy requests, the building is oriented towards the heart of the school complex, isolating itself as much as possible from all external nuisances. The solid wood structure sits on a masonry plinth and is located in front of the existing kindergarten. The project also provides classrooms designed with the most favorable orientation to the west and onto the playground.

    Functional access and openings
    Firstly, the school’s largely glazed ground floor forms a “center of life”. It is a place of education, social life, and interactions, extending the space beyond its simple teaching function.

    Outside, the openings have been tailored to its location, thus limited to the level of the square and the two apartment towers. In the interior courtyard, the building opens generously to reveal the rooms for school purposes, places of relaxation, and recreation. Additionally, the courtyard integrates the ground floor functions and connects the kindergarten with the new elementary school. More than an architectural gesture, this landmark for future students unites the different poles. The playgrounds of the two schools are isolated by way of a fence and a plant line, thus preserving views and contact between the children.

    Design: Daudré-Vignier & Associés and Bond Society
    Contractor: ZUB
    Photography: Charly Broyez