On the plateau de Saclay, to the southeast of Paris, a cluster of universities and research facilities is emerging based on a long-term master plan. The new Francis Bouygues Building links the existing university with the new Gustave Eiffel Building, while its location also establishes a connection between the campus and the natural environs.
The new building occupies the entire plot with the exception of three volumetric setbacks that define the entrances. Two taller elements reinforce the corners along the street front and a patio with lush vegetation occupies the centre of the building.
The school is organized around a large, three-storey hall as a public space that connects the three departments and lends the building its identity. The departments, or Univers as they are called, are conceived as neighbourhoods with streets, lanes and squares, representing the motif of the city. The hall resembles an artificial topography that links the work areas and common areas on the ground floor and the upper levels, additionally creating a flowing, differentiated space that accommodates places of varying intimacy.
The façade is clad in enamelled ceramic elements with smooth, wavy or grooved surface textures. This architectural design relates to the surroundings, with the colours of the elements mirroring the departments of the school. In addition, the colouring of the modulated, shining surfaces responds to changes in the lighting, thus enhancing the visual impact of the building.