Gavroche Centre for Children

Gavroche Centre for Children, Saint-Ouen, France, SOA Architectes
Project year : 2011
Architect(s) :
Address : 50 Rue Arago, SAINT-OUEN, France
Latitude/Longitude : 48.903510,2.323542

Client : Saint-Ouen city
Developer : Séquano Aménagement
Net Area : 750 sq.m
Building Performance : Environmental Approach
Consultants : Starck, General Acoustics
Photographs : Clément Guillaume

A cultural and educational facility situated in the heart of the Victor Hugo development has been realized with the completion of the Gavroche Centre for Children. The latter is part of a large urban renewal scheme consisting principally of housing, offices and commercial buildings organized around the Victor Hugo Garden.

The complex triangular plot is located within a heterogeneous built fabric: the park to the West, old town houses to the North and several new 5 storey buildings to the South. The depth of the site provides the building with three different orientations. The workshops and games rooms are therefore turned towards the garden, most of the spaces benefiting from an unobstructed view out onto greenery. The entrance space, with its forecourt set back from the street, acts as an urban connection with the rue Arago. A certain continuity with the existing urban fabric as well as with the layout of the Victor Hugo Garden is preserved, as much as possible, when the building slots into this complex site.

The children’s centre stands out as a public facility. Cultural, educational and civic intentions with a strong social integration objective are demonstrated by the scheme. Children and adolescents are able to develop their own individuality through collective games and workshops, as the centre is a place for educational leisure. Around the central hall, focal point of the centre and entirely open to the public, the functional organization of the building is evolving. Firstly, the scheme rests on a plinth consisting of horizontal lines echoing the configuration of the park. A number of timber boxes, which appear to be light structures with varied paneling, set out in a fragmented way is supported by this base. Open spaces with maximum transparency, adapted to natural lighting requirements, as well as acoustic conditions are flavored from the interior layout of the ground floor. A great legibility of the various uses is allowed by the rigorous organization of the different entities, while facilitating the children and visitor’s orientation throughout the building. The use of a colorimetric language and appropriate signage also helps in achieving this.

Contributed by SOA Architectes

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