Ensae Paristech

Studio: CAB ARCHITECTES
Authors: Calori – Azimi – Botineau
Location: Palaiseau, France
Video: CAB ARCHITECTES

General aspects: We perceived this place as an absence – an immense sky and a plateau devoid of constraints – and we sought, by a simple form and an abstract writing, to capture this landscape to transcend it. This university park "in process" intuitively led us to think of the image of a pavilion, a pavilion in a park. We then chose to write the project by a steel exoskeleton. Listed in a square, the building is an open place, but borrows the notion of interior landscape from the cloister. The continuous frame draws the architecture. The structural grid was mounted like a mechanic, standing out in the horizon like a spidery figure, thus stating the nature of this dry site. With no intermediate support points, metal beams define the thickness of the building, span the programs from facade to facade and allow spaces to settle comfortably (teaching rooms, offices of researchers and administrators, library, double amphitheater, …). Inside, the structure is present because always visible, to recall that the constructive expression gave at the same time the rule and the direction. The idea of ​​immediacy, drought, nudity of the material has brought us into question. We have tried, through another material, to pursue the notion of archaism that we are still looking for in our buildings.

Why did you choose this category?: Naturally, we have chosen the "collective places" section, because the project of ENSAE at SACLAY is a public research and study establishment aimed at students and researchers. In this program, the collective dimension is major and in fact, we drew many spaces of meeting and conviviality. These places of sharing are a pledge of serendipity between users of this school of mathematics and statistics. The morphology of the building speaks to two paradigms of the collective: 1) the ground, the urban because the ground floor is not fenced, it is crossed from one side to the other by the students of the campus, the walkers, … It is a porous public space and welcoming, the course allows to go under generous galleries, a patio planted. 2) From the third level (the building contains five), the figure is closed and the building becomes a cloister. Thus, on the exterior side, the totally glazed façades make it possible to project towards the large landscape of the plateau, while the walls that surround the patios are draped with perforated shutters like mantillas which, to protect the intimacy of those who work, slide like fans. Major shared spaces, such as amphitheatres or the library, also slip into the structural frame and form the necessary joints with the rest of the building. Largely glazed, these "commons" complete the public and collective dimension of the program.