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Western Paris University Continuing Education Building

With the significant growth of continuing education in personal paths, a tree concept of professional development has now superseded the principle of a linear and unidirectional career. It is in this context that the new continuing education centre at the University of Paris-Ouest in Nanterre was born and it is this observation that guided its design. Located in a strategic location within the Campus, facing the RER line and close to the access to the SNCF station, its architecture is a real signal on a territorial scale. The south façade, perceptible from the train, comes alive with the movements of visitors (train passengers or pedestrians) thanks to the coloured vertical sunscreens of its double skin, gradually shifting as the view rises towards the sky. This kinetic facade on the rail side contrasts with the smooth treatment of the north facade on the pedestrian walkway side, made from glazing and silkscreened metal panels. The façades inside the parcel are covered with horizontal wooden slats at random rhythm, which reinforce the warmth of the reception hall as an extension of it. The new building founds its place between two powerful and fundamentally different architectures by choosing neither the party of one nor the party of the other, but by leading to an impression of manifest architectural unity. Technical specifications of the glass The breathable south facade consists of VEC windows (with integrated blinds), shadow boxes with transom and lightweight transoms and solid panels in aluminum cassette. Shadow boxes allow a continuity of the glass and a homogeneity of the facade thanks to the installation of an antelio glazing at the bottom of the box. Breathable, the facade is also embellished with sunbreakers, this device guaranteeing optimal protection from heat. Sun shades are made of a coloured film (PVB spacer) taken into the laminated glass, thus ensuring the durability of the product, highly exposed to bad weather. The major difficulty in the design of this project was to hold these BSOs without visible fasteners. These are therefore held by large galvanized steel plates directly fixed to the concrete structure, so the glass slides punctually pass through the breathable facade at the joints of the latter. A special cut-out in the glazing optimizes their use. The choice of glass rather than metal responds to the exposure of the façade: it evolves throughout the day following the path of the sun, colder at the end of the morning, it is tinted with warm and golden reflections at the end of the day. The choice of strong shades (red/orange), balanced by white, contributes to the kinetics of the project. By projection the colour penetrates into the interior of offices and classrooms, deliberately left blank and in raw concrete to accommodate these effects. The North facade, on the campus side, also breathable, is quieter and smoother, responding to the grey wooden cladding that covers the facades on the courtyard.

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