Ateliers O-S Architectes designs community centre for a sleepy French town
In the quiet town of Pontoise, 30km from Paris, Ateliers O-S Architectes has completed a community centre and nursery designed to fall into step with its sleepy suburban setting. Its low-rise, light-coloured volumes absorb strolling citizens from casual pieces of park-land and quiet clusters of houses.
To reach the form of the building, the architects arranged a series of gradually shifting volumes together – making sure the whole reflected the massing of the surrounding architecture, and had an approachable entrance defined by the façade. A ‘curve’ opens up the entrance to the nursery, while a ‘pleat’ parts to reveal the main hall of the community centre.
The smooth design carefully hides two adjoining structures (the community centre and the nursery) beneath one roof. The two buildings have very separate functions: the community centre features multipurpose spaces for all generations, while the nursery holds 45 cradles. A series of inner courtyards and void separate the two functions internally, yet also weave them together through light and visual connections.
Subtle design elements create a conversation between the surrounding community, the building, and its interiors. The sandy colour of the stone, refined with zinc and brass detailing, was also chosen to reflect the colours of the neighbouring buildings. Patterned mashrabiyas further soften the façade, while revealing views into the interior, and the exterior lines of the building level up with the public gardens beyond. §