SOA: les coccinelles nursery school SOA: les coccinelles nursery school
feb 13, 2013

SOA: les coccinelles nursery school

‘les coccinelles nursery school’ by SOA, saint gratien, france

image © clément guillaume

all images courtesy of SOA


drawing from the french for ‘ladybug’, ‘les coccinelles nursery school’ by parisian firm SOA is a materially sophisticated, high functioning building sited in a quaint green space. situated in a residential northern parisian suburb, the volume of the nursery school appropriates the locally prevalent pitched roof and star-shaped plan. the program called for an environmentally conscious space that could accommodate 45 young children separated by three stages of development. the gestalt of the building lies in the double-height entrance hall which fractures out into the three functional areas of the school; the ground floor is for the eldest and mid-level children, while the youngest are relegated to the first floor. although the entrance hall affords uninhibited views, the glazed southern facade opens into a double height sun room, creating a all-weather covered play area. energetic spaces are counterbalanced by sleeping rooms in the northern section of the school. the building systems are composed sensitively, with linear wooden slats that filter direct sun during the summer months. double wooden skin also gives way to rhythmic apertures that also puncture through the prefabricated metal walls. in lieu of light frame inner construction, the material logic is playfully reversed, with chestnut cladding serving to express stainless steel exterior walls. this inversion architecturally unifies the roof and facade while keeping with the child-like lightness that the program demands. 



the double height entrance hall organizes the rest of the program

image © clément guillaume



chestnut grates encase a stainless steel building envelope

image © clément guillaume



the ‘ladybug’ nursery school is materially compelling, but has a relatable scale

image © clément guillaume



verticality remains a constant aesthetic theme across materials

image © clément guillaume



a double height corridor along the southern facade creates an all-weather covered play area

image © clément guillaume



image © clément guillaume



site plan



floor plan level 0


floor plan level 1



detail of cladding assembly


project info:

location: rue d’argenteuil, saint-gratienclient: city of saint-gratien team: SOA (architect), gruet (engineering), orféa (acoustics), 
atelier jours (landscape design)built area: 691 m² 
environmental performances: BBC, RT 2005 use: education

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