Here’s how not to make school intimidating for youngsters – use child-friendly timber, keep it low-rise and give it some welcoming curves. Lapierre School, in the French city of Lens, is the work of GA Architecture. It houses a kindergarten on the ground floor and an elementary school on the first and there’s good access to the garden and playground. The Paris-based duo Giuseppe Grisafi and Patrizia Anania created a piazza as Lapierre’s main entrance, with the intention that this would also be an area for what they call ‘interactions and pauses’. This will all happen under a brise-soleil structure.
The timber elementary school, which stands on stilts, is complemented by ground floor facades in white plaster. These are interspersed with coloured glass, as well as round portholes – two features designed to appeal to GA’s youngest clients. The building is due to be completed this September, and time will tell whether – in this case – well-considered architecture will be a boon to learning. Talking of which, this definitely will.
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