This new academic campus on the periphery of Paris will unite several graduate schools for research in the social sciences. Occupying a five block former industrial site, the concept for this linear campus is a continuous greenway of paths, gardens, and courtyards joining academic, administrative, social, and housing structures. The campus is the vision of an international team of architects and landscape designers coordinated by a major developer/builder.
Leers Weinzapfel Associates is developing the northernmost block of the campus. A research building for nearly 1000 researchers at the northwest corner marks the edge where the city and university meet. The L-shaped research building announces the campus identity, and opens at the northwest corner to create a welcoming portal. Within the campus, this first phase research building will begin to form an academic quadrangle surrounding an oval lawn. The second phase building, marked initially by a grassy berm, will complete the quadrangle. The research building is immediately adjacent to the social heart of the campus- the campus dining building and student center- with clear visibility and proximity to the main library. It will house approximately half of the campus research units in the initial phase and as such will be a vibrant center of intellectual activity.
The southern part of the block is the magnet for the social life of the campus. Combining the campus dining and student activity center in a single Campus Life Center significantly enhances the potential for shared activities throughout the day and evening. Facing the library to the south, the new Campus Life Center is its social counterpart, drawing together all members of the campus community. The building is conceived as an extension of the landscape, with the opportunity for terraces at multiple levels adjacent to dining and activity spaces. Each terrace level reveals new views of the library, the campus, and city. From the library, the building appears to blend seamlessly into the landscape.
On the remaining portion of the block, graduate student housing will strengthen the identity of the campus as an integrated living and learning environment.