The Biodiversity School’s Green Wall

The construction of a school, more than any other kind of facilities, provides an opportunity to rethink the synergy between notions of poetry, education and nature, using plastic and spatial apparatuses so as to favour the interaction between the natural environment and a children programme. Located in a dense urban development zone (Zone d’Aménagement Concerté) in Boulogne-Billancourt, on the former Renault plots, the school of Sciences and Biodiversity (école des Sciences et de la Biodiversité) translates these very specific issues. In the first place, priority was given to the connections between filled and empty spaces, and between different topographical levels. The crossed playgrounds offer interacting outdoor areas, providing various points of view. The rhythm and the quality of these views, the communication between inner and outer spaces create a fertile environment for young users: the school is all at once a house, a city, and a landscape. From the upper playground, a supple and comfortable path leads to the green roof, designed to receive a 12-metre high natural reserve. Access is restricted in order preserve the ecological balance required for an evolution of the local biodiversity.

Prefabricated concrete blocks form a thick and uneven rind on the whole building, increasing the probability of spontaneous natural development. Asperities favour the spreading of vegetation; hollows and folds are more specifically meant for animals. Through its support function, the building offers a changing and living shell, which also enables nature to settle in unexpected places… Time here becomes a significant architectural component, going beyond construction timing and contractual framework. In this project, biodiversity is dealt with as a complete programme, as important as the school. As an ecosystem, the facility becomes the environment in which these two worlds merge. Our desire to elaborate a homogeneous entity led us to work on a both vegetal and human continuity, thus creating an experimental organism which also evolves into an educational tool.