12 . 06 . 2015

Wood wood wood

FRANÇOIS LECLERCQ

Press visit

leclercq lycée de nantes

The figure of the industrial hall, the long and aerial morphology of which explains its rational and intense use, is intimately linked with the Île de Nantes’ past. It inspired the form of the Nelson Mandela High School, the broad prow of which pays tribute to the district’s Atlantic horizon and reactivates the immemorial ties between boat builders and building builders. For a high school is a voyage from the shores of adolescence to adulthood, a 24/24 odyssee in an industrial vessel, occupied hour after hour by young people between 15 and 20. Lycée Nelson Mandela is a place for teaching, living and enjoyment. A place for learning in every sense of the word. A school from sophomore year to college prep classes. An apprenticeship in living together, then learning to live with differences through the mutual visibility afforded by its long atrium where all languages are taught to a diversified student body, some of whom live with physical or mental disabilities. Also learning the limits, for this place of life and residence is defined by the strict rules of a boarding school. Learning about effort through the regular application of examinations and the important place given to outdoor and indoor sports. Learning about space and the way through it, for the wealth of its program speaks to the clarity of its architecture and the calm strength of its long indoor street that encourages exchanges and circulation. This indoor street combines a full program and blends a community that comes together between classes and spreads to the upper floors according to students’ schedules. This constant spectacle is given rhythm by the sun at its zenith, the variations of the light that shines down through the glass roof and the operatic arias that echo throughout the day. Classrooms spoke out between courtyard and garden on either side of the nave in a double thickness; the rooms are served by a hallway. Some rooms give onto the isle and its urban landscape while others look out at the nave. This duality unifies the building as part of a «campus park» that combines a plaza for events, a sports ground, the «five senses garden» and an auditorium around the school’s main body.