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Europe 40 Under 40 Awards ARCHIVE 2016 40under40
Pierre and Marie Curie Educational Centre - Swan Architects - France
  • Pierre and Marie Curie Educational Centre - Swan Architects - France
  • Pierre and Marie Curie Educational Centre - Swan Architects - France
Pierre and Marie Curie Educational Centre - Swan Architects - France

SWAN - Serge Rodrigues, Ambroise Béra, Joachim Bellemin - France

Serge Rodrigues, Ambroise Béra and Joachim Bellemin created the SWAN ARCHITECTES agency in 2010 in Paris. Since then, the agency has ceaselessly striven to develop wide areas of expertise: housing, facilities, work and production spaces, health-care buildings.

The notions of coherence and unity guide the design of the SWAN agency's projects. Incorporating the projects into the surroundings and landscape is essential: the surroundings become a source of inspiration, and the landscape is closely associated with the buildings. SWAN designs modern architecture that is anchored in the region by using noble materials (brick, wood) assembled in a contemporary way. The sensitive and creative use of traditional materials or standard industrial products is optimised through research and experimentation.

SWAN's constructions have been noticed on a number of occasions: the social housing and public garden built in Bouzy, in the Champagne region, were written about in 2016 in the article "Les centres-bourgs, des cœurs à reconquérir" (Village centres: hearts to recapture) in Le Moniteur; the carefully studied energy performance of the Nanterre sports centre redevelopment was written about in 2016 in the town's newspaper; the re-use and circular economy implemented to fit out offices in Orsay was showcased at the Pavillon de l’Arsenal in 2015 at the "grey matter" exhibition. The agency recently delivered a primary school in the Aisne department and a redeveloped Lycée (sixth form college) in La Courneuve, and projects are in progress for the Bièvres equestrian centre in the listed Bièvre valley.

Project Description


Program: Design of eleven classrooms, a canteen, a multivalent room and a crèche, restructuring of a library
Location: Étreillers 02590 France
Client: Syndicat intercommunal du pôle éducatif primaire du vermandois (SIPEPV)
Photo credits: David Foessel
Design: 2012 / Production: 2015
A curvy school
It twists into an L shape, like the final piece of a puzzle, in the narrow space between the town hall and a manor house. Bridging the gap...
Mutual understanding: a multi-purpose centre
The sweet fruit of the union between 11 municipalities, this shared space brings together 5 facilities in the town centre. While the school is protected from the road, the other social spaces communicate proudly with the public area, providing independent access when the school is closed. And so, from left to right, there is: a multi-purpose hall, a glass house that transforms into a lantern when the sun sets; a library, the people's cathedral, in a "hollowed out" former house; a pocket-sized crèche, built on the scale of its mini-occupants.
Solids and voids...
With its generous curves, the school accompanies the pupils all the way from the road to the entrance, at the end of the street. The fading cloud of red bricks that runs around the façade creates a kinetic effect, reinforcing the feeling of being pulled in, while harmonising the aesthetics of the whole.
Why does the school bell always ring too early?
Because the omni-transparency of the spaces, from the entrance hall to the corridors, stretches out the view as far as the eye can see.
Because its falsely random openings echo childish insouciance.
Because its restaurant that opens onto a southern facing garden really whets the appetite.
Because this eco-friendly school is also ultra-flexible. Other future projects include a covered gallery, a sports room, an educational garden, etc. Coming soon!
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