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OMA Selected to Design Saclay Engineering School
Posted: Friday, October 05, 2012 |

In the competition for the new École Centrale engineering school in the French city of Saclay, southwest of Paris, OMA has been awarded the First Prize. The brief also includes the urban development of the area surrounding the school in Saclay's research and innovation zone. The winning proposal was developed in collaboration with Bollinger and Grohman, Alto, DHV, DAL, and D'Ici Là.

Entrance from the metro station (Image courtesy of OMA)

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Entrance from the metro station (Image courtesy of OMA)

With the concept of a "lab city," OMA was selected from four competing international architectural practices. The project is led by Clément Blanchet, director of OMA projects in France. 

OMA is currently working on several projects in France, including a master plan for 50,000 housing units in Bordeaux, a new library in Caen, and a convention center in Toulouse.

The central block and the social areas (Image courtesy of OMA)

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The central block and the social areas (Image courtesy of OMA)

Project Description from the Architects:

In contrast to the corridor / room linearity of the typical laboratory, OMA's design is a low level, glass-roofed superblock containing an open plan grid inside, where various activities can interact and be overlooked simultaneously. The grid offers the freedom to generate a new typology for learning, cultivating collaboration while maintaining the stable conditions of the engineering school's primary pedagogical function.

Blanchet commented: "The design integrates urbanism with the school, supplanting the homogeneous experience of the campus. It's an attempt to define the actual esthetic of science."

Public crossing through the LabCity (Image courtesy of OMA)

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Public crossing through the LabCity (Image courtesy of OMA)

A diagonal main street slices through the grid, connecting with a future metro station for Paris at one end, and the existing engineering school, Supelec, at the other. In the centre of the project, a forum rises above the grid, offering a focal point of activity for the school. This platform accommodates a gym, administration center and classrooms for first year students, winding its way up through and above the field. This stack is conceived as a training machine offering a complementary condition to the small, intricate spaces in the horizontal field of "lab city."

Existing site with loose islands (Image courtesy of OMA)

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Existing site with loose islands (Image courtesy of OMA)

Modular system of LabCity intersected by the public diagonal (Image courtesy of OMA)

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Modular system of LabCity intersected by the public diagonal (Image courtesy of OMA)

Overview of the ECP integrated in urban plan (Image courtesy of OMA)

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Overview of the ECP integrated in urban plan (Image courtesy of OMA)

The experimental hall of LabCity and integration of the central block (Image courtesy of OMA)

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The experimental hall of LabCity and integration of the central block (Image courtesy of OMA)

ECP as a generator of urbanity (Image courtesy of OMA)

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ECP as a generator of urbanity (Image courtesy of OMA)

Section showing the integration of the central block overlooking the LabCity (Image courtesy of OMA)

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Section showing the integration of the central block overlooking the LabCity (Image courtesy of OMA)


Comments:
Muna Imani
Dubai
Saturday, October 13, 2012
i like the simplicity of project in creating open plan with using glass gives the sense of integrating the interior with exterior. the centeral block is the important area in sharing activties that outside and inside is as one space like social space.

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