Renzo Piano designs a new campus near Paris

The prestigious Ecole Normale Superieure de Cachan chooses the Italian team

by Malcolm Clark

The prestigious Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan has chosen Renzo Piano's architectural office to construct the new buildings of the Paris-Saclay campus that will open in 2018. 124 applications were received and from the 5 finalists, RPBW - Renzo Piano Building Workshop was chosen. The ENS will house 3,000 people in the new school, whose design envisages four residential units developed around a “park” of more than one hectare, the heart around which to organize the different architectures that reflect the richness of the school and serve as points of reference for the readability of the space.

The south façade is completely transparent, leaving the activities of the school visible. The meeting areas (cafeteria, public restaurant, conference space, learning centre) will develop around it. The building to the north, designed around a bright internal street, will host the areas for training and research in basic sciences and engineering sciences; the humanities and social sciences division will be in a “satellite” building and will have more rounded shapes.

The project, at a cost of € 143 million, is part funded under the future investment program initiated by the State.