Situated in Nanterre’s André Malraux Park, not far from the underground rail line linking it to the Opera, the Ballet School was conceived as a microcosm that could reproduce spatially the different times in children’s day. Three building wings connected by walkways stand aside one another on a vast parcel of land bordered on one side by the town and nature on the other: the dance building, the general education and administrative wing, and the hall of residence. Right away, the eye is drawn by the whiteness of the slender, curved lines of the building’s architecture, its picture windows awash with daylight and the verdant surroundings that frame the serene setting.
Facing the park, in the dance wing, a large spiral staircase provides access to the studios via a panoramic promenade punctuated by landings where students can gather. From the entrance, a covered gallery leads to the general education wing where elementary and high-school level classes take place. The residential wing is linked to the other buildings by a glass arcade channeling the students’ movements throughout the day. The rooms have been designed for three students. Each student has a window view and a bed-cabinet-desk unit separated by a low partition. The windows look out on the distant city to dissociate the dance activities of the day from the evenings which are set aside for rest and relaxation. Finally, a fourth space – the courtyard and garden – surrounds the entire building. Here, during the day, the children can relax between classes.
© Agathe Poupeney / ONP