Lieu de vie Paris-Saclay University campus

Low-cost flexible university campus hub serves as urban shelf close to Paris

Lieu de vie Paris-Saclay University campus

Low-cost flexible university campus hub serves as urban shelf close to Paris

Lieu de vie is a multifunctional public facility on the new university campus of Paris-Saclay, France. This low-cost building is designed to encourage interactions of diverse communities living near one another, but rarely meeting.


The project, designed by Studio Muoto, is a public facility situated on the new campus of Paris-Saclay.
© Maxime Delvaux / Studio Muoto

Studio Muoto has packed, within a compact architectural form, a diversity of programmes such as indoor and outdoor sports facilities, a restaurant, a cafeteria and assorted communal areas.


The building is vertically stacked with its various activities superimposed on one another.
© Maxime Delvaux / Studio Muoto

At the urban scale, these are connected to a pedestrian square, street terraces and park zones, for people who are walking, bicycling or driving.

The campus is conceived as an urban shelf, serving students, teachers, researchers and employees from different schools and companies, day and night. It functions as a meeting point by co-locating amenities that appeal to many user groups.


Restaurant, cafeteria and sports activities are made accessible to students, teachers, researchers and company employees.
© Myriam Tirler / Studio Muoto

The architecture is derived from vertical stacking of programmes and the appearance of slabs as shelves, which is accentuated by the transparency of the envelope.


The roof is used as a panoramic playground for games such as basketball.
© Myriam Tirler / Studio Muoto
Spatial organisation as a tool for socialisation

Internally, the building is configured with a flexible spatial organisation. It has spaces that are linked to one another.


The design accentuates the minimalism of structure and materiality.
© Maxime Delvaux / Studio Muoto

The structure, for instance, features expansive use of aluminium sliding doors. A large staircase, at the heart of the building, allows users to explore it volumetrically. This promotes movement between floors and offers visual links and social spaces between levels.


The various spaces are linked by an open staircase that allows independent access.
© Maxime Delvaux / Studio Muoto

Movement through the building — outside to inside, linking back to outside — is compared to a Klein bottle, wherein the difference between interior and exterior are intentionally dissolved.


In response to the low construction budget, detailing has been kept to a minimum.
© Maxime Delvaux / Studio Muoto
Minimum resources for maximum efficiency

The compactness of the building minimises its footprint. The form strategy reduces the need for materials and other resources typically associated with buildings.


The building has been conceived as a minimal structure, using rough materials, robust and long-lasting techniques.
© Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction

The design draws inspiration from industrial structures like billboards, scaffolding, and bridges. The logic here is to foster cost and performative efficiency whilst projecting an aesthetic that accentuates the minimalism of structure and materiality.


Technology is used minimally to provide a place that will last in time, without need for complicated maintenance.
© Maxime Delvaux / Studio Muoto

Glass and concrete delineate the form. Concrete beams are prefabricated to reduce construction time and cost. This combined palette ensures a low-maintenance and high durability.


Lieu de vie on the new Paris-Saclay University campus hosts a mix of activities and various public spaces across more than 4,000 sq m of floor area.
© Olivier Campagne / Studio Muoto

Reversed slab, the placement of insulation material above the concrete floor, enables the building to achieve high levels of thermal performance, albeit without heavy cladding. This keeps the slab and structure visible from the outside, emphasising the ‘shelves’ analogy.


The vertical configuration of the building provides a minimal footprint.
© Olivier Campagne / Studio Muoto

To minimise the need for energy-consuming systems, only functional spaces are heated, excluding transitional and technical rooms. In the summer, natural ventilation is facilitated by sliding doors, while large textile shades provide sun protection.

The synergistic approach to materiality, space and structure transforms this otherwise modest building into a distinctive landmark. It exemplifies a core tenet of sustainability: the integration of economic, social, and environmental needs.


This economical approach has allowed the inclusion of a generous public square in the construction price, ensuring a planted pedestrian connection with the existing academic buildings next to the site.
© Olivier Campagne / Studio Muoto

Studio Muoto won the Silver prize in the 2014 Holcim Awards for the Europe region for this project. It also won the 2017 Building Better Recognition Holcim Awards in Europe.

Read more about this project on Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction website.

Post sponsored by the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction

A Novel project is innovative in one or two ways, say, material use, passive design, community engagement, etc. Performance, here, might be discussed in quantitative or qualitative ways.

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Fact Sheet

Disclaimer: Location provided as reference only. Exact site may differ.

Under the Köppen climate classification, these are ‘C’ climate types. Temperate climates have mild winters and summers where the average in the warmest month is higher than 10° C and the coldest does not drop below 0° C. This climate is common along coastal regions.

There are no performance metrics for this project.

Architects
Studio Muoto

Team members
Thomas Wessel-Cessieux
Gilles Delalex
Yves Moreau

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Good design often reveals what we do not know we need. But such a feat depends not only on what we tweak and improve, says Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, but how we re-imagine the process. The question is: where to start?
Bjarke Ingels is a global brand. Whatever one feels about starchitects in general, he is a force to be reckoned with. What does he think is the future of buildings and cities? What role will design play in solving the climate crisis?

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