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Ateliers O-S and NAS Architecture create Samuel Paty School in Béziers


Gabled concrete forms surround a planted courtyard at Samuel Paty School in Béziers, France, created by local studios Ateliers O-S and NAS Architecture.

Located in the city’s Devèze district, the single-storey school is designed by Ateliers O-S and NAS Architecture to balance well-lit, navigable spaces with a feeling of enclosure and privacy for those inside.

This was achieved by creating a “double-walled” structure, where a concrete exterior and corridor create a buffer from the city outside and the interiors look inwards at the central courtyard through full-height windows.

Courtyard area within Samuel Paty School in France
The school is organised around a large planted courtyard

“The project is characterised by a double structure, which is mineral and thick on the city side on the outside and lighter and scalable metal on the inside,” explained Ateliers O-S.

“The result is a hybrid building that offers a strong contrast based on an opening to the interior landscape, composed of playgrounds, learning gardens and relaxation areas,” it continued.

Samuel Paty School’s entrance to the northwest is covered by a section of roof with circular openings. This allows the site’s existing trees to continue to grow while providing a sheltered space for children and parents to gather.

Sheltered entrance of school by Ateliers O-S and NAS Architecture
A sheltered entrance provides a gathering space for children and parents

Once inside, two entrance halls lead to the separate nursery and primary school wings that form the school’s O-shaped plan.

A corridor on each side acts as an “internal street”, lined with storage spaces, narrow windows looking out to the city and circular openings into the classrooms.

“The school’s corridor winds around the school as a second protection to the classrooms,” explained the studio.

“Considered as external but sheltered, this space of distribution and exchange has a non-insulated external concrete facade that leaves the tinted concrete of the facades visible on both sides.”

Corridor within Samuel Paty School in France
Narrow windows in the facade look out towards the city

Full-height, sliding glass doors allow each classroom to open onto the courtyard, which is divided in two by stepped concrete seating.

Alongside the main school building, separate structures house the medical centre and canteen, with a delivery entrance to the south. At the far eastern end, a small two-storey building contains offices and an independent entrance for staff from the neighbouring Place Rosa Park.

View of courtyard at school in France by Ateliers O-S and NAS Architecture
Sliding doors open onto the courtyard

Ateliers O-S was founded in 2007 by Vincent Baur, Guillaume Colboc and Gaël Le Nouëne. Previous projects by the studio include a performing arts school and library in the suburbs of Paris which is clad in strips of golden aluminium.

Other recent schools in France include Eugénie Brazier, which Vurpas Architectes created from a converted market, and Auguste Benedict School by Amelia Tavella Architectes, which has a textured stone facade.

The photography is by Cyrille Weiner, Ateliers O-S and NAS Architecture. 

Project credits:

Architect: Ateliers O-S and NAS Architecture
Structural work steel framework:
Exterior carpentry: Sonzogni
Metalwork: Solatrag
Interior carpentry arrangement: Carayon
Dry lining: Cuartero
Hard floor-coverings parquet: Vassileo
Flexible floor coverings: Carrillo
Painting: Escriva
Plumbing, Ventilation And Heating: Axima Equans
Electricity: Ineo Equans
Elevator: Otis
Kitchen: Thermasud
Espaces verts/green spaces: Id Verde
External works: Eurovia


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