Children respond very well to design – colors, shapes, and imaginative spaces all get their sweet little minds ticking. In the case of the new L’École Polyvalente Claude Bernard Primary School, the architects at Brenac and Gonzalez knew exactly how to design for this kind of clientele. The U-shaped building is currently located on the site of the old Claude Bernard Hospital, along the banks of the Canal Saint Denis in Paris. The exterior of the structure is covered with etched glass with a repeating pattern of small circles. This pattern flutters through the entire establishment because of the circular shadows it casts on its interiors.
Inside, the space is flooded with vibrant colors. Greens, Oranges, Pinks, and Yellows are meticulously painted on the walls to identify areas and direct the children through the school. The atrium, where the children meet for eating and social activities, has a unique enclosed staircase that is green on the inside and white on the outside. Rectangular pieces of different sizes and proportions are connected together to create the enclosure. The pieces are then staggered around the staircase and separated just enough to allow a little bit of green to peak through.
Throughout the school where there is light, there is color. This means, that at each window and light fixture, the architects painted that area of light, with a bright color. Stefan Tuchila, the project manager at Brenac and Gonzalaz, used this technique with the purpose of amplifying depths, colors, lights for the children.
(Photography: Sergio Grazia and Stefan Tuchila)