Bâtiment Atrium, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France
Exemplary design categories: access, cultural and historical valueHow the facility meets the needs of education and communities:
Bâtiment Atrium is primarily a facility for first-year undergraduate studies. It enhances this renowned university complex in the centre of Paris by slotting into the grid plan designed in the 1960s by the architect Eduoard Albert. It seeks to respect and perpetuate this plan, while establishing a smooth transition between the campus and the esplanade near the Seine and, away from the river, the Sorbonne and the botanical gardens. Built on a similar scale and volume to the adjacent buildings, Bâtiment Atrium completes Albert’s grid to form a large open courtyard. It also features the same pattern of windows as the neighbouring buildings. However, the façades are radically different, as the building is enveloped in eight panels of perforated aluminium that produce a set of random patterns. This panelling forms a fine but robust skin that acts as sun visor and gives the façades interest and depth. The façade stops above the main entrance on the ground floor. Here, a bright orange ramp, folded origami style, provides a dramatic entrance to the building. This rises over three storeys, and smoothly bridges the different levels on the site in a fluid movement. Despite its striking external appearance, the architects have adopted what they describe as a “low-tech” approach. The building has been designed on industrial production principles, using conventional materials and standard construction products. Inside, the building is organised around an extremely large, covered central atrium. Crisscrossed by circulation routes, stairs and escalators linking the different floors of the building and flanked by balconies.
Activity Areas: Lecture and study rooms, offices, computer rooms, library, common rooms
Project costs: EUR 24,800,000.00
Source: "Designing for Education: Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities 2011"