Eric Arsenault Architecture

01 Marzy ecole

Primary school

  • Localisation : Marzy (58)
  • Program : 10 groundfloor classrooms, workshop, library, computer room, administration office
  • Project type : new build
  • Surface : 1 600 m2
  • Cost : 1 250 000 € excl. VAT
  • Client : city of Marzy
  • Delivered: 2005
  • Photos : Christophe Deschanel

An important issue was the insertion of this project in an undeveloped area : how to implant in open fields ? What ties to create with the nearby town?

The school is organised like a farm, protected from rain and winds to the northwest and opened on a sunny courtyard to the south east.

One of the key points of the school and barely visible on the pictures is the vehicles management which has been treated as a major component of the program. Indeed, many rural children are driven to school and the town choice to relocate to an uncluttered land was no stranger to the desire for traffic management.

A full car park was created laterally to the school (and not in front of the school). This car park is designed as a large loop which enables cars to turn along the school and drop their children without passing other cars arriving.

Other benefits are generated by this lateral processing :

  • The façades are free from vehicles, fields reaching the foot of the buildings (rural school).
  • The pedestrian and cycling routes from the west - village side - are allowed without interfering with the vehicles.
  • A few parking spaces are available in front of the school for parents visiting the teachers or the director without having to go across the whole courtyard - discretion of visits. (This notion of direct entrance into a school by the courtyard or the building was the subject of an investigation during the competing phase - here the two options are available).

The program indicated a building of 1 500 m2 on a single floor. Creating such a large surface area on a unique level raised a problem on a volume perspective (looks of a very flat building), so the central part (workshop, library) has a roof rising above the school as a large canopy facing the town. The canopy serves both as sunscreen with glass sheltered walls and as a signal (spatial reference, public building).

The lack of upper levels offered the opportunity to create skylights in the internal corridors (views on the sky and natural daylight).

Services provided

Some of the services provided during the operation :

  • The school has put in place rainwater recycling for sanitation use.
  • The earthmoving soil has been left in place and used to create a barricade in the playground.
  • The classrooms are separated from each other by airlocks with perfect sound insulation between them.
  • The curtains (yellow or orange) bring discreet splashes of colour to the white façades. Inside, the corridors are painted with complementary colours.