MOS Studio designs semi-permanent education pavilion in Versailles

Small school built in Versailles, France
School No. 3 (A.K.A. Petite École) is the work of New York based MOS Studio, and was built in Versailles, France, on the occasion of the Inaugural Architecture and Landscape Biennial - Île-de-France this summer
(Image credit: Photography: Iwan Baan)

You know you've done something right, when a project that was meant to be temporary is loved so much by the users and client that it is given an extended lease of life. Such is the case of MOS Studio's School No. 3 (a.k.a. Petite École), a light outdoors structure that was built in Versailles, France on the occasion of the Inaugural Architecture and Landscape Biennial – Île-de-France this summer; yet it's increasing popularity meant that the client soon decided to keep it in place for a lot longer than originally thought, possibly over a year. 

The project was originally commissioned as part of the 2019 Biennial of Versailles, and built in the courtyard of the Versailles ENSAV school of architecture. Conceived as a workshop, studio, lab, classroom, atelier and multi-functional space for education, Petite École was created quickly and efficiently, employing ingenious fabrication and construction methods.

Graphic design of school structure

(Image credit: Photography: Iwan Baan)

The open-air structure was built using 825 aluminium pieces, which had been modelled, flattened, cut, folded, prefabricated, shipped, and then assembled on-site by just a few people in a few days. Modelled as if it was made by paper, light and easy, the clever design means that Petite École can be disassembled and reassembled anywhere, at any point.  ‘The Petite École is a one-room, open-air design school for young children', explain MOS Studio directors, Hilary Sample and Michael Meredith. ‘It is a place for looking and making, and for making and looking'. ‘It looks familiar', continues the team. ‘It looks abstract. It is made of building elements: a long, low roof with columns and stacked beams holding it up. It is made of folded aluminium. It has a sign made of folded aluminium. It has furniture made of folded aluminium. It is meant to be looked at. It is meant to be inhabited'.

Close up view of open aired area with large roof

(Image credit: Photography: Iwan Baan)

petite école roof designed by mos studio

(Image credit: Photography: Iwan Baan)


Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).