School Center and Leisure Center in Antony / Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes
Text description provided by the architects. School buildings shape the development of children and young people who spend most of their day there. These are also prestigious projects for French municipalities. Therefore, its architectural quality is even more important. The new primary school with kindergarten by Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes in Antony is the result of a winning competition and a huge improvement over the old school it replaces. Antony is part of the Greater Paris Metropolis, the RER C takes 20 minutes to the center of Paris. The school is close to the train station, a middle school and a high school, on a bend in rue Pierre Gilles de Gennes.
In order to integrate into the urban structure, to obtain as much space as possible for the courses and optimal sunshine for the classes, the building follows the limits of the site. Natural daylight, open and bright rooms, great freedom of movement and direct access to the outside were essential design criteria. The incidence of sunlight has been simulated throughout the year, the wings are staggered in height: three floors in the northeast, two in the northwest and one on the winding road from southwest to southeast . The sun shines in the schoolyard and classrooms, energy consumption remains low. The school consists of four wings that surround a large trapezoidal courtyard. A leafy courtyard and large classroom terrace on the first floor form the airy, sunny, child-friendly and exercise-friendly center of this school.
Optimized use of the site. The multi-purpose hall on the ground floor is located on the curve of the road to the south-east. It is suitable as a play, sports and exercise area for children, but also for events. It links the main canteen on the street side with the entrance to the west wing of the school. This whole sequence on the street is associated with a partially translucent polygonal facade in glass and expanded metal. This gives children a presence in the urban space, allows natural light and ventilation, and signals openness.
Surrounded by a wide, red-coloured pavement, the hall rises towards the curve to a hall height of four metres. It follows the curve of the site and creates a very bright and spacious multifunctional room. Its slightly raised roof serves as an outdoor courtyard on the first floor. The slope of the roof leads to flat wooden steps, a barely visible stainless steel net serves as a ball net and fall protection. Plants along the outer boundary provide a green filter to the surroundings.
Welcoming. To the southwest, the geometry of the roof forms a canopy that protects the entrance. Here children can wait before and after school. A second multipurpose room is slightly advanced – it emphasizes the entrance and can also be used outdoors. The public space on the street is followed by the corridor which opens to all the classrooms. It serves as a buffer zone, transit zone, lounge and rest area. This hallway widens behind the entrance to the foyer, where a wide staircase leads to the first and second floors. It naturally separates the older ones from the younger ones who enter directly into their groups.
Classes as places of life. The classrooms for children aged two and a half to six years are located on the ground floor. With floor-to-ceiling glazed facades that can be largely opened with sliding doors, they all face the spacious playing field, which is designed as a friendly artistic landscape with gentle hills made of sports surfaces, trees and playgrounds. Children can go out directly.
The upstairs classrooms follow the same principle: they face spacious terraces. The rounded edges form the inner courtyard. Part of the terraces are made of wood. A sheltered space forms a framed view of the neighborhood. Their children can play outside even in rainy weather. We can play or talk together in all weathers until the beginning of the course.
Air quality plays a major role in children’s well-being and ability to concentrate. A floor-to-ceiling wooden panel interrupts the glazed facade between the classrooms. Behind it is a radiator that preheats the air and blows it through the classroom side fins when it gets too cold. If the CO2 content of the ambient air increases, fresh air is supplied. This wooden element punctuates the glazed facade and contributes to the warm atmosphere of the courtyard. All partitions and load-bearing supports are made of exposed concrete, the walls facing the aisle like multifunctional wooden furniture: On the class side they serve as shelves, boxes and sinks, and on the aisle side as changing rooms. In the entrance area there is a strip pattern parquet floor. The canteen is a deep, open space on the street that is naturally lit by the facade and a glazed interior patio all around.
The school is robust, open and bright. For Dietmar Feichtinger, architecture is the scene of daily life. This school is geared towards outdoor spaces – and it leaves plenty of room for ownership and development.