Vincen Cornu Architecture : Lycée Joliot-Curie

"The benefit of an intervention on an existing building lies, among other things, in the fact that 50 has been used for a long time to clearly reveal the pathologies ". This is the conclusion established by Vincen Cornu who guided the rehabilitation project of Joliot Curie High School in Nanterre (92). A school that until now has been poorly adapted to changing students, reveals its potential under the guidance of the architect.

Built in 1959 by the architect Dengler, the high school of Hauts de Seine suffered bad circulation, a lack of readability and a poor exploitation of its assets, such as the area of ​​the land on which it is based - some 43 000 square meters, all the same -, its proximity to a sports plateau of quality and its particular lessons as the theater. The challenge was to adapt the institution to current standards while enhancing its singularities.

A challenge raised by Vincen Cornu's teams who concentrate in a first place on the entrance of the school. Previously located on a road north, in the lower part, she directed the establishment in a funny way, back to his stadium and far from his Town Hall. A strange location that now belongs to the past! Moved to the north-east end of the site, the entrance is now preceded by a large forecourt, visible from the Town Hall of Nanterre. The numerous concrete steps of this outdoor area constitute a strong identity to the whole, almost brutalist, which is enlivened by the presence of glass windows tinged with bright colors on the facades. They also allow students to gather outside by creating levels differences exploitable by high school students during their breaks.


And if, from the outside, the building benefits from a new valuation, it is extended once the doors are crossed since the theater, a major asset of the school, is accessible via this forecourt. This independent monolith made of cast-in-place white concrete is now being enlarged, from a small theater that is little used to a real multipurpose room. Equipped with retractable wooden shelves and bleachers, the space also benefits, of course, from a stage where students perform and train. It opens on one level on a rear orchard, offering an inspiring bucolic view for future playwrights and actors.

What simplify the life of young users of the program with panache!

The project is selected for the ADC Awards 2019 in the category Teaching / Kindergarten, Primary, Secondary

To learn more, visit the ADC Awards website et Vincent Cornu

Photographs: Vincen Cornu and François Daburon

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