The building as a whole has two quite different sides. Facing the street it appears to be simple, clear, and two-dimensional, while facing north and to the courtyard it presents a playful combination of volumes and terraces.
Both appearances reflect the building regulations. The facade toward the street had to be mostly vertical. The northern side had to accommodate the neighbors' 45-degree view of the sky. The main corridor on the second floor changes direction to respect a neighboring two-story courtyard shed.
Such surrounding influences meant the compact spaces were fit in the site where they were allowed, not necessarily where they would have been most suitable. Fortunately the difficult shape of the site and the influence of the various regulations led to interesting solutions, and an elementary school with more personality than one tends to see in Paris.
Christian Horn lives and works in France and Germany. He is an associate of ON-AIR, a Paris-based, Europe-oriented architecture firm, focusing on experimental architecture and project management. He is a frequent contributor to several German and French architecture magazines.
Client: City of Paris
Architect: Gilles Margot-Duclot
Artist: Yvan Messac
Structural Engineer: Geciba
Mechanical Engineer: Bethac
Cost Consultant: AEI