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Europe 40 Under 40 Awards ARCHIVE 2016 40under40
Nursery School - Graal Architecture - France
  • Nursery School - Graal Architecture - France
Nursery School - Graal Architecture - France

GRAAL Architecture


Graal is a Paris-based architecture and urban design practice created in 2011 by Carlo Grispello and Nadine Lebeau. Graal considers architecture to be a catalyst for the interaction between public space and the built environment and favors the exploration of an architecture that is constantly attentive to the emergence of new functions in their precise context. Guided by a spirit of creative pragmatism, the agency uses negotiation as an architectural and urban design tool in order to optimize constructive exchange throughout each stage of the project. In pursuit of this quest, Graal dissects problematic encountered on site by interrogating program and revealing intrinsic potentialities in order to offer each project an approach that privileges the logic of a particular urban context rather than seeking to follow a rigid design process. The development of an aesthetic coherent with local specificity and the investigation of social space during the design process allow each project to make a positive social and environmental impact. Graal Architecture is committed to expanding its practice, working at all scales from interior organization up to urban projects. The agency’s projects in France and abroad are developed in close collaboration with a range of multidisciplinary professionals in order to guarantee their intelligence and feasibility.

Project Description

The design for the extension of the Alliés de Chavannes nursery school draws on its context within the landscape and its integration within the site. The three new volumes that house the extension connect to the longitudinal circulation of the existing building in such a way as to allow them to be perceived as separate pavilions. The existing building is reconfigured to become the school’s spine. Distinguished by two types of metal cladding - galvanized steel and anthracite zinc - the new volumes provide a visible distinction between the original building and its extension. The new volumes are organized to ensure fluidity and a programmatic organization in harmony with the existing functioning of the school, logically inserted between the trees and providing views of the surrounding vegetation. Elevated on steel stilts and with facade openings offering each space a variety of orientations, the extensions allow pupils to imagine that their school is a tree house!