Jacques Kalisz (6 september 1926 – 5 march 2002): Nanterre Architecture School
During my journey through the history of steel in architecture, I unfortunately regularly come across gems from the past that have been mercilessly destroyed by the demolition hammer.
You could easily fill a year with case studies of projects/buildings that were often unjustly sacrificed to the wild building plans of public and/or private clients, ignoring the architectural and technical qualities of existing buildings. Unfortunately, a lot of industrial and architectural heritage has disappeared over the years. I do see hopeful signs that a turnaround has begun. Repurposing through renovation of existing buildings is happening more and more
Nanterre School of Architecture
This building consisted of a combination of square modules, based on cell biology. Flexible, it had been designed to be easily transformed: the walls were light, flexible and can be changed considering users’ needs. The façade panels, solid or glass, could also be interchanged at will.
In this school designed just after May 68, Jacques Kalisz wanted to implement his ideas on how to teach. His goal was to design a building that arouse curiosity among students and among residents and facilitate meetings, inside as well as outside the walls.
This building, unconventional and experimental, reflected the principles of the architect on trade, communication and “working together”. It was designed as an extension of the Parc André Malraux, which borders should continue within the building, allowing walkers to see the students at work.
The building was closed in 2004 when the school moved out. It has since been exposed to the four winds, through its broken panes. Wrapped in vegetation, the degradation of this shamefully neglected architectural heritage is concealed from the public eye.
About the Author:
Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.