NBJ Architectes & François Privat architects give fresh life to A. Einstein High School
The complete restructuring of Albert Einstein High School ends with the completion of the last building renovation developed by NBJ Architectes (Elodie Nourrigat & Jacques Brion) with François Privat architects. The High School Albert Einstein (Brassens site) is a vast building constructed in the 1960s. Built following a strict and repetitive pattern, it is composed of large linear buildings from 60m to 80m length and large metallic workshops surrounded by large open and unappealing space.
A site analysis demonstrates several functional gaps. The resulting objective was to summon a new spatial organisation of the site in order to provide all students, teachers and administration staff with a workspace and social space appropriable by all. A restructuring strategy was established with three main points: create a suitable scale; initiate a cohesive landscape project; and create connections over time.
The brief was to rediscover the human scale of the building and outdoor spaces through a better distribution of the volumes. The campus model presents the advantage to be flexible. This intervention process also allows to students to find their way more easily and enjoy an active social life while remaining supervised.
Thereby a central core of establishment close to all functions has been made possible. The court is the major element of this project, a meeting place but also a transition space. Its localisation offers direct connections with the cafeteria, the restaurant, administration areas, workshops, and teaching rooms. It allows the students to gather during their free time. To rediscover this human scale, it was also necessary to maintain low building heights with a better distribution and space occupation.
By increasing the density of the gardens between the buildings the architecture team were able to provide a plant screen that enhances visual and thermal comfort. Visual borderlines are now wider thanks to the preservation of the green space in the Northwest of the High School. The project proposes to create an alternation between dense wooded areas, buildings, additional spaces like the circulation areas equipped with benches and shade structures, and specific soil treatments which provide landscape diversity. The objective is to find a building/plant balance.
The last building designed with landscaping reflects this logic and strategy of rediscovery of place. It hosts a restaurant as well as teaching rooms. Particular attention has been given to the building envelope. The skin of the building is colourful, alternating between painted aluminium panels and brise soleil.