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Competition for a school in Marseille

Location :
Client :
Elementary School Saint-André La Castellane
Team :
AgwA + Caractère Spécial § Matthieu Poitevin architecture
Planning :
Category :
The Mediterranean city is a city that opens up, that welcomes, a city that is convex and not concave. Rethinking the Castellane school means rethinking the connection of the school to its context, improving the reception of students and teachers, and more broadly all the inhabitants, equipping these transformed places with new uses to open the site to all possibilities for today but also and more importantly for tomorrow.
One entrance, two schools: the existing situation but different

The new entrance forms the natural link between the two schools. It unfolds on two levels at the junction between the two existing buildings and transcends their functionalist character. It condenses all the specific accesses to the different parts of the school and allows the cohabitation of the different users and different temporalities. Strategically located, it also connects the two parts of the district: the Castellane and the Jougarelle park with the hillsides and their suburban fabric.

Multiple common spaces
A new forecourt expands, crossing the preserved and rehabilitated pine forest, to reach the porch, the place of entry to the schools. The main building floats above the pine forest. A large wooden structure, supporting vegetation and perhaps gymnastic apparatuses, protects the familiar façade of the school, filtering it. A new structure marks a common, welcoming entrance. Above the other wing, a wooden elevation holds all kinds of activities that can be sensed through its transparency. In the evening, this new floor shines during the gatherings of neighborhood associations. Further east, the new gymnasium also transforms into a large lantern in the early evening. It overlooks the existing sports field, activating it. The natural layout of the programs allows multiple interactions of the school with its environment and to accommodate the diversity of users in their singularity. A school and even more so, a place to live.

The elementary school
The project proposes to move the classrooms to the North, where there is no problem of thermal comfort and where the light is softer and more diffused than in their present position to the South. Thus, the southern part of the building is totally hollowed out, only the metal structure is kept. The void created becomes a winter garden, a workshop by day, a large theater at night... Suddenly, there is nothing left. Only a few beams here and there to hang objects, gymnastic apparatuses, lights and plants, inviting appropriation from all. It is the extra space open for each class to become something else. It is the place to perform, to gather, to sing, to play, to be together and which can from time to time become an enchanted workshop. By freeing the whole southern part of the building from any floor or partition we discover or rather rediscover the existing structure, we reveal it, we exacerbate the identity of the building. With this great theater, we are inscribing ourselves in the history of Marseille, through a strong gesture, an extraordinary space of which all the inhabitants will be proud.

(extracts from the competition proposal)