Architect: SOA Architectes
Location: 50 rue Arago, Zac Victor Hugo, Saint-Ouen, France
Project Managment: SOA, Starck (feasibility consultants and economists), GA (acousticians)
Client: City of Saint-Ouen
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Clément Guillaume
The Gavroche centre for children is a cultural and educational facility situated in the heart of the Victor Hugo development. The latter is part of a large urban renewal scheme consisting principally of housing, offices and commercial buildings organised around the Victor Hugo Garden. The complex triangular plot is located within a heterogeneous built fabric: the park to the West, old town houses to the North and several new 5 storey buildings to the South. The depth of the site provides the building with three different orientations. The workshops and games rooms are therefore turned towards the garden, most of the spaces benefiting from an unobstructed view out onto greenery. The entrance space, with its forecourt set back from the street, acts as an urban connection with the rue Arago. The building slots into this complex site, preserving, as much as possible, a certain continuity with the existing urban fabric as well as with the layout of the Victor Hugo Garden.
The children’s centre stands out as a public facility. The scheme demonstrates cultural, educational and civic intentions with a strong social integration objective. The centre is a place for educational leisure, where children and adolescents are able to develop their own individuality through collective games and workshops. The building’s functional organisation evolves around the central hall, focal point of the centre, entirely open to the public. Firstly, the scheme rests on a plinth consisting of horizontal lines echoing the configuration of the park. This base supports a number of timber boxes, which appear to be light structures with varied panelling, set out in a fragmented way. The interior layout of the ground floor favours open spaces with maximum transparency, adapted to natural lighting requirements, as well as acoustic conditions. The rigorous organisation of the different entities allows for a great legibility of the various uses, while facilitating the children and visitor’s orientation throughout the building. This is also achieved with the use of a colorimetric language and appropriate signage.
Text provided by SOA Architectes.