in paris’ 16th arrondissement, west of the city center, an existing urban block has been transformed into an engaging university campus containing two auditoriums.
designed by local practice AZC (atelier zündel cristea), the project involved the construction of two 200-seat lecture halls and various teaching spaces for paris descartes university.
the tight nature of the plot is reflected in the simple and compact structure, which, clad in dark timber slats, takes the form of a rural barn. responding to the constraints of the site, public areas of the scheme are located at ground level, with the two lecture halls found above. freeing up valuable space, service rooms are housed at the very top of the structure, made invisible and inaccessible to the public.
in terms of its construction, standardized metal components have been used to ensure that the roof can span large distances. to the south, the top of the amphitheater is cantilevered over the ground floor spaces, which gives free space for classrooms and offices. ‘we envisioned a ‘dry’ construction, through assembling the paneling beforehand in the workshop,’ explain the architects. ‘this manner of construction allows a reduction in the time of actual construction work onsite, while solving the site’s accessibility difficulties.’