Institut d'enseignement supérieur Léonard de Vinci, Paris
Terca Agora Silver Grey
Interplay of lines of vision
This university building in Nanterre is located in a highly heterogeneous urban area. The matte building envelope, huge window fronts and a scarcely noticeable curvature achieve the impossible.
The façade as bridge between stylistic elements
Nanterre is situated among the office towers and car parks of the business district of La Défense, on the western outskirts of Paris. Multi-storey flat blocks are distributed among huge parking complexes and glass skyscrapers.
The disparate aspects of the cityscape leave their mark on the district. The Leonardo da Vinci Institute is situated among the mixture of designs and stylistic elements that has cropped up in Nanterre. The architects wanted to create a structural connection between the university centre and the different scales of its urban setting using precise architectural elements. The cube shape and also the matte clinker brick façade played a crucial role in this.
Leaning into the curve
The university building is located directly on the D914 motorway and discreetly traces its curvature. Huge window fronts, more than two stories high, give a view in the direction of La Défense and city centre Paris. This creates the first, central line of vision, which provides magnificent views of the city of Paris while also allowing passers-by to get a glimpse into the university and the learning process at the institute.
The second line of vision and interaction is in the interior of the classroom building: The spaces were designed to enable fast and easy exchange between students, educators and administrators. The two-storey aperture of many spaces transforms the university into a vertical campus where classrooms, atria and common areas, as well as hallways, staircases and terraces contribute to increase exchange between the students.
The silver-grey façade brick, Terca Agora, creates a chromatic transition to the adjacent residential building, while its ribbed and delicately sandblasted surface speaks in an earthy language that creates a connection to the green area of the cemetery in front of the building. Its matte surface does not reflect any sunlight, making the institute stand out among the textures of the adjacent buildings. The combination of huge window fronts in a gently curving cube-shaped building makes a striking impression from far away.
Facts & Figures
Project name: Institut d'enseignement supérieur Léonard de Vinci, Paris, France