Education / Research / Laboratories

Jussieu University campus, redevelopment of eastern sector, Paris

Paris

2008

This project aims to create a building that communicates, via its modernity and its ambition, the image of tomorrow's university, right in the heart of Paris. This needs to be more than just a new element tagged onto the existing structure, however contemporary it might be. Real modernity is in the ability to adapt Edouard Albert's Jussieu campus, a major architectural work representative of the heroic spirit of the years of post-war boom, the trente glorieuses (1945-75).

The logic of our design is based on a deliberate choice: to accept the heritage of a great architect and to adapt it to meet the advanced requirements of modern teaching, research and communication. The campus required a new identity, one whose success would make it a European model for the conversion of architectural heritage into a powerful tool for research and teaching that is human and convivial.

A synthesis of the arts: Albert’s design alternated solid and void, providing faultless rationality in an architectural project that was evolutionary and standardised. He entrusted artists to fill the void within his design with their own creations.

Our project has two intentions:

- to reveal the ground level interstitial void, and restore its original transparency and its mathematical punctuation by the rotunda vertical circulation by removing all subsequent additions.

- To make any changes to the grid following the same logic as that given to the commissioned artists. In this way retaining a strong link with the original building project at the same time as distancing oneself from it. The project's location naturally becomes the void, principally the courtyards. We took on these spaces, substituting artists' works with cultural facilities including libraries, an auditorium and an exhibition space.