School of Architecture, Marne-la-Vallée
A fundamental premise of the project is that Marne-la-Vallée is at the same electronic distance from London, Berlin, Tokyo, New York, or Delhi. In the midst of this global architecture of culture and information, the marginal or de-centered actual location of the school is seen as an advantage. Removed from habits of thought related to the conservation of historical centers, the site, set amidst a new 20,000-student technological complex developed by the French government, provides a starting point for a model of a school in the age of mobility. more
The design of the school begins from the thesis that there are “building-generators” of events. Such structures are often condensers of the city. Through their programs as well as their spatial qualities, they accelerate or intensify a cultural and social transformation that is already in progress.
All of the programmed activities are arranged around a large central space that is activated by the density of what surrounds it. The space is designed as a place for celebrations and balls, encounters and debates, projections and artists’ installations, as well as for the most serious symposia and avant-garde exhibitions. The functional and programmatic parts of the school open onto this interior rectangle. Similarly, the activity in the studios is visible from the central hall, reinforcing the image of the school as a place of communication and discussion.
The circulation is also gathered together in this central hall in the form of staircases and steel walkways that crisscross the space, forming a multi-leveled suite of open passageways. This transforms the building into a large promenade, which, as in a city, can have several points of departure as well as multiple shortcuts through it. The 400-seat amphitheater—a striking “object” posed within the space and covered in shimmering extruded metal—can be accessed by stairs and by walkways. back
International Competition, 1st prize, 1994
First phase completed 1999
275,000 sq. ft.
$28,000,000 ($15,000,000, 1st phase)
University of Marne-la-Vallée
Lead Designer: Bernard Tschumi. Key Personnel: Kevin Collins, Yannis Aesopos, Véronique Descharrières, Robert Young, Tom Kowalski, Mark Haukos, Stephanie Bayard, Jordan Parnass, Grace Cheung. Project: Véronique Descharrières, Alex Reid, Kevin Collins, Gregory Merryweather, Rhett Russo, Frederick Norman, Christine Denizzi, Lauranne Ponsonnet. Consultants: Hugh Dutton Associates (HDA), RFR, Coulet, CIAL, Ursula Kurz, Sectec-TP back