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Ravine Blanche primary school

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mission new construction – competition
client City of Saint Pierre
project manager Emilie Lebas, CoCo architecture, INCOM, INSET SUD, IMAGEEN, AGORA
date 2010
footprint 1995m²
price 4M,7€ excl. taxes
location Saint Pierre (974)

In the framework of the ANRU (National Agency for Urban Renewal) project, the municipality of Saint-Pierre, on Reunion Island, has decided to construction a primary school in La Ravine Blanche neighbourhood. This institution of 14 classes takes into account changing demographics within this evolving community.

There are 3 main issues relative to the project: the integration and connection of the building to the new neighbourhood and park, the security of the students, and the organisation and optimisation of the programme on this small plot of land. This issues must also be considered relative to the climatic constraints on site, therefore the prevailing winds and sun, have also guided the layout and orientation of the project.

The urban integration of the project treats each boundary differently. Along the main road, a long built-up facade reinforces the urban character and creates a sound barrier for the school. On the park site, the boundary in contrast, remains unobstructed, in order for the school’s square to connection to the future green corridor running through the neighbourhood.

The building encloses this recreational courtyard at the centre of the site. At ground level the communal and administrative services form the outline of the school in a ‘u shape’.

The classrooms are located in a simple and compact volume on three levels, posed on top of this ground floor. Traversing the width of the building, they allow for natural ventilation, optimised lighting and maximum comfort. The circulation creates a cap which protects the classrooms from direct sunlight. The courtyard is dotted with spherical mounds and hollows, similar to soap bubbles, a much loved children’s game.

A green wall made of metal mesh encompasses the project. Following the boundaries of the site, this fence provides shading to the surfaces of the exposed facades and shelters the school from prevailing winds.