The creation of the Large Documentary Facility in Aubervilliers is part of the vast university decentralization plan undertaken on a national scale, of which the Condorcet Campus is a part.
The architectural part was developed in order to meet the challenges of the policy of decentralization of education and its integration into the territories. The creation of the Campus Condorcet aims in fact at a better geographical distribution of universities and, consequently, at access to knowledge for all.
The architecture is fully consistent with these ambitions and has been designed as a future Learning Center, to materialize pioneering educational intentions thanks to a diversification of programs, an openness to the city and an adaptation to new collaborative working methods for teachers. and students.
Finally, the architecture is put at the service of a new teaching paradigm. The building is made up of two large asymmetrical volumes, connected by two bridge buildings, like the multitude of bridges that the GED establishes between knowledge, beings, the environment, the place.
The non-load-bearing opaque metal facades are enlivened by the dance of the various oblique clear slabs and gray metal balconies which sometimes penetrate, sometimes spring from the buildings, lightening the weight and the mass. These facades have high-performance thermal properties and ensure easy maintenance.
The volumes are designed as an echo of these industrial castles that once populated the territory of Aubervilliers. The system of glass facades with filtering Venetian blinds was chosen to provide natural light. It is punctuated by vertical modules clad in metal whose very structure evokes the industrial past of the site.
Thought out in a rational way, the project favors savings of means, in particular by the implementation of simple forms, while offering generous and functional spaces, conducive to study and research. The luminous spaces are hierarchized by means of very worked transitions between the public and more intimate spheres, and all are in relation with the outside.
As far as the relationship with the neighborhood is concerned, the GED marks a fundamental difference with the historic industrial workshops. When the latter showed a relative opacity and an introverted character, the main characteristic of the new equipment is to be completely open to its environment, at all levels.
The transparency of the ground floor is obvious. It is thought of as an invitation to discover and practice coworking spaces, open spaces, the bookstore, the cafeteria, or even the forum.
Transparency and porosities have been designed to attract the youth of the neighborhood to knowledge, as the concept of Learning Center recommends. Beyond the transparency, a system of crossing streets, in particular the central diagonal axis, reinforces this appeal to enter the building, which is intended to be a public space.
This axis has become, over the course of the design, the backbone of the Campus and at the same time a spatial link between all the students and researchers.
Visuals ©: Sergio Grazia