The Weissenburger and Saint-Exupéry school complexes comprise low-rise buildings carefully integrated with the surrounding townscape
Paris- and Bordeaux-based Vallet de Martinis Architectes has completed two school complexes in the northern French town of Noyon.
Each complex – hosting both nursery and primary school classes – is defined by a pair of single-storey buildings clad in local brick. The architecture is designed to contribute positively to the surrounding townscape, including improving public realm and maintaining views of the town’s cathedral, as well as provide positive environments for pupils and teachers.
The Weissenburger school complex, covering 2,171 sq m, accommodates 15 classrooms, two dining spaces, two libraries and a series of exterior and interior courtyards.
The buildings, while low-rise, strike a notable presence on the streetscape with warm-red brickwork and staggered pitched roofs, created by a dynamic facade of projecting and recessed forms which nonetheless echoes the terraces of local residential architecture. The ‘gaps’ formed by recesses around the building perimeters are filled with pocket gardens, introducing additional greenery to the surrounding streetscape.
A landscaped soft play area has been designed in one interior courtyard for the nursery school children, while the enclosed courtyard for the primary school children includes a vegetable garden. The two exterior courtyards, meanwhile, face towards the town and include sports facilities.
The Saint-Exupéry school complex, set across 2,413 sq m, includes 18 classrooms, two dining spaces, a library, dormitories and two large courtyards. The building for primary school children is clad in red brick while the nursery building is clad in a dark brown-black brick, creating variety and distinguishing one from the other.
The almost L-shaped layout of the built volumes form courtyards in the centre of each. These courtyard areas include a range of design approaches to suit different ages and activities – from integrated play and games, to a green area with benches and an outdoor theatre.
Photography by Charly Broyez