The Rosa Parks School Complex
The Rosa Parks school complex is part of the Gratte-ciel urban-planning area, a vast urban-renewal project that provides a new identity to the north of Villeurbanne. It is located at the entrance to the future district and establishes the link with the existing fabric.
The new building is located on its peripheral limits in an L-shaped pattern. It is a hinge that connects the future urban-planning area in the west and backs onto the existing building in the east.
The northwest corner of the building is treated as a visual signpost, a pivot that acts as a hinge for the interweaving of programs and establishes a balanced, scaled relationship with the future buildings on neighboring lots.
A progressive squaring from north to south creates a slender shape at the north-west corner and, on the courtyard side, a grading of the volume that echoes the high-rises and ensures optimal sunlight.
On the street side, the building is treated as a unitary volume, a sculpted single white-brick material on 3 levels. The brick facade extends to the courtyards of the last levels to integrate them into a continuous volume. A terracotta mashrabiya has been extended, producing a kinetic play of shadow while filtering the southern sun.
The courtyard and the courtyard on level 2 extend this play of solids and space into the heart of the plot. The different materials of the building – whether matt or glazed brick, locks or aluminum joinery – offer different shades of white, different ways of capturing and restoring light, giving the building a unitary and evanescent white-volume look. In addition, a landscaped treatment in the form of teaching gardens is being developed on the first- and third-floors.
Beyond the role and place of such a facility in this rapidly changing area of Villeurbanne, our proposal wanted to offer a rigorous operationality, quality interior spaces and generous, legible and luminous shared spaces through the choice of both a soft, contemporary architectural image that is fully integrated into the new skyscraper district of the city of Villeurbanne.