First Look: OMA’s Winning Design For École Centrale Engineering School In France
October 4, 2012
OMA is at it again, this time winning the competition to design the new École Centrale engineering school and its surrounding urban development in the research and innovation zone of Saclay, southwest of Paris. Led by Clément Blanchet, the director of OMA projects in France, the winning concept of a “lab city” was selected from four competing international architectural practices. Read more.
In opposition to the room linearity of typical laboratories, OMA’s design presents a “low-level, glass-roofed superblock containing an open-plan grid.” The grid allows for interaction and the completion of various activities while offering “the freedom to generate a new typology for learning” and providing an atmosphere that encourages collaboration.
A diagonal main street dissects the grid, with a future metro station at one end and the existing engineering school at the other. A forum rises above the grid at the center of the project, creating a focal point of activity accommodating a gym, administration center, and classrooms. Blanchet expanded upon the project, which was developed in collaboration with Bollinger and Grohman, Alto, DHV, DAL, and D’Ici Là, explaining “The design integrates urbanism with the school, supplanting the homogeneous experience of the campus. It’s an attempt to define the actual aesthetic of science.”
Images: courtesy of OMA © All rights reserved