For the Sorbonne Nouvelle, luxury is space and the gardens of Babylon

Forcourt: Nicholas Borel

The progressive retreat of the front respects the possibility of a convent and creates an architecture of terraces with planted terraces pointing to the hanging gardens that adjoined the iconic library of Babylon. Christian de Portzampark explained when he visited the Sorbonne Novell Press in the spring of 2022.

Opened in February 2022, the new campus, dedicated to literature, theater, video, cinema, foreign languages ​​and the humanities and social sciences, with many spacious classrooms, will eventually have more than 35,000 square meters east of Paris (12th century). ), About 6,500 students (18,000 registered) and about 2,000 teachers per day.

In a relatively tight plot, the building is designed around a unified central space. ” The first universities were built around a cluster where everyone could meet and go from there 7, architect continued.

After the Babylonian reference, in the convent, now the cluster? What is the name of a contemporary building in New Sorbonne? Christian de Portzampark will also emphasize this idea of ​​clusters throughout the tour, Descending Indoor and outdoor performance space, spacious and large, practical and comfortable to emphasize the importance of his mind. All these widths of corridors, these high ceilings, these almost incongruous places that artists know how to make their honey … A nightmare for a public contracting authority almost like a developer’s nightmare? Not here.

Luxury is space, as stated in an old ad (for cars, I believe). That’s true. But at the price of an intramural Parisian square meter, in the Sorbonne Nouvelle, all this space dedicated to something other than ultra-effective profitability makes you dream.

New Sorbonne
Open the block @ Nicholas Borel
New Sorbonne
See from Cloister @ Nicholas Borel

Optimism which, of course, must be in the mood. The existing ONF tower, renovated and raised by Maud Caubet Architectes (scheduled for delivery by the end of 2023) is an important component of the project due to the location of the bridgehead. It is actually its presence and its form that allows Christian de Portzampark to expose the project to the surroundings in different directions, with an S-shaped ondulation.

The generous intention which is reflected in the special entrance to allow the residents of the district to enter this prestigious library. These openings in the environment are unfortunately properly closed by a rigid regulatory grid. If society does not one day fear its own shadow, then the drawing of Christian de Portzampark will seem extraordinarily timely to him.

In the meantime, the latter returns to the idea of ​​a yard, a cluster, an aerial circulation, a kind of filtration of his work, the idea of ​​creating an open and intimate space here (this is what he underlined AND). ” It is a confined space but not claustrophobic He said. ” This is an important issue in a dense city: being defensive without limiting “In times of dangerous panic, the building translates this desire for comfort everywhere, for liberal education.

Dense, the ceremony is also. For a useful surface of 26,000 m² – 146 classrooms plus offices for administration, five language laboratories etc. – It is characterized by a huge library on three levels, three amphitheaters with 120, 350 and 500 seats, a theater, a movie, a restaurant, a recording studio, a TV set. *

If the building looks pleasing, such as the colorful facade of a classroom building, it is likely that the architect acted with good humor on the differences in materials, geometry, facades – differences that are always justified, such as these trapezoidal windows that allow light to penetrate deeper. To create isolated workstations, without partitions and still close, moreover with an external view. And if there are several buildings, it is actually a single work, relaxed, flexible, relaxed, non-violent.

Other projects in the competition, signed by Studio Milu, Dominic Peralt and Mark Mimram, ** apparently had no curved material. Round cluster or right angle, question of method? ” I like to move forward in emptiness, relying on a culture of spacing between things 6, emphasizes Christian de Portzampark.

Thus, in addition to the rooms provided in the program, two small outdoor amphitheatres were born, one entirely mineral, the other vegetable (or is it one of these gardens in Babylon that descends into an amphitheater?), In any case two perfect. Space for students willing to learn how to work on their eloquent talents and range of their voices in different environments, especially when the weather is nice.

Christian de Portzampark
Amphitheater: Nicholas Borel
New Sorbonne
Lobby: Nicholas Borel

Throughout the visit, the impression still remains in a single uninterrupted space. Below, a large volume with a large fountain, as can be said in the theater, the size of which is not listed anywhere in the program. Two commemorative canvases by French painter Béatrice Casasesus (1% artistic) bring the scale of the place to a familiar and attractive dimension.

Conservatories have become the key to space “Christian de Portzampark, as a proof, praises his ecstasy before going into long degradation for creating such a large model that three people can fit inside, which makes it possible to experiment with physical models and numbers (emphasis added). ). In short, for the impeccable acoustics of different rooms, there is nothing to add, the passion and experience of the architect is enough.

New Sorbonne
BU @ Nicholas Borel
Works by Beatrice Casadesus
The work of Béatrice Casadesus @ Nicolas Borel
Works by Matthieu Bonnard
Nicholas Borel

These generous, illuminated performances, open, discreet but usefully designed furniture for the various landscapes constantly within the structure, became places of intuitive convenience. Also within 1% of the artistic structure, 5/5 combined has created three additional meeting places – the kiosks are as elegant as they are unexpected. But this creation was allowed only because the architect, far away, insisted on keeping these volumes open to the imagination. At the Sorbonne Nouvelle, a corridor is not just a corridor.

A floor dedicated to the training of interpreters, who first inaugurated the school in February 2022. They have classrooms, studios and high-level facilities. Undoubtedly this will apply to everyone when the school is running at full speed.

The actual return to school will take place in September 2023. Students will then be able to try out the restaurant room – 1,000 meals per day – which, outside of service, will turn into a huge and bright co-working room. There are electrical outlets but, in this case, in such a highly controlled canteen, it is precisely the phonology that is complicated.

The epidemic has shown us that we need green space to walk, to walk, to see the sky … Since our first study at the Sorbonne Nouvelle, our thinking has focused much more on this story of openness, which I told. “Open Island”: Bring sun, light while maintaining a kind of intimacy. There is a necessary similarity 6, concludes Christian de Portzampark. **

Harmony is space.

Christoph Lerre

* Learn more about this project: Campus Nation – Sorbonne Novel University by Christian de Portzampark
** See other projects:
– Studio Milu
– Dominic Peralt
– Mark Mimram
*** Christian de Portzampark at “La Grande Table” (French Culture, June 2020) – Thinking ahead: “You need to know how to incorporate world diversity into cities”

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