New study for the Ecole polytechnique in XDGA-FAA’s Paris-Saclay masterplan. The project designs a new building within the existing one in order to transform a late modernist autarchic complex into an lively campus center.
From Architecture to Campus
Searching for new forms of “grandeur”, post-war France looked towards the United States of America. Inspired by their colleges, École polytechnique left the crowded centre of Paris in 1967 to build a campus ex nihilo. The late modernist drawings of Henri Pottier located archetypal typologies in the centre of an endless park. The park was never built and Pottier lost control over the numerous extensions made to his design. Over time, the 180.000 sqm complex has become a labyrinthic accumulation of labs, classrooms and sports halls. Today, the surrounding of École polytechnique has begun a deep mutation, the Paris-Saclay campus-city will be built around. Adapting to the new context is a unique opportunity to create the hearth and the backspine the school is lacking.
Bordered by the woods from one side and a lake from the other, the existing complex is organised along a north-south axis. In the near future, the construction of the Paris-Saclay cluster will enhance the east-west direction. New public transports and facilities will inevitably induce new flows through the school. In order to adapt to this new equilibrium, École polytechnique should embody this change by rotating its main building in the direction of the new campus-city.
The existing main hall is completely disconnected from the outside and fails as a gathering place. It is isolated both in plan and in section. The main floor level is 5m above the campus ground and the articulations are too small and complex. The new hall cuts throughthe existing building and densifies underused patios. It links the hall to the campus ground by large stairs on all sides of the main building. The intersection of the two axes, crossed by the campus population, becomes a new hall surrounded by lively programs, and the hearth it has always lacked of.
Schéma directeur immobilier Ecole polytechnique 2015-2030
XDGA-FAA – MDP
Xaveer de Geyter, Floris Alkemade,
Phase 2 : Michel Sikorski, Paul-Emmanuel Lambert, Ménélik Jobert, Hanne Defloor, Elena Caruso, Claire Lootens
Phase 1 : Michel Sikorski, Ménélik Jobert, Elena Caruso, Claire Lootens, Benoit Streicher, Beatrice Colaicomo
Ségolène Merlin Raynaud, Benjamin Lampaert, Sven Bienfait
EPPS – Etablissement Public Paris-Saclay
Silkscreen drawing of the Paris-Saclay central strip
Lieven de Boeck
Mathias van Rossen