Beyond Paris: The Palaiseau Campus at Paris Saclay

IntroductionResearch on strategies for new campuses in the Paris region continues in this third studio on the subject. The growth of metropolitan Paris beyond its present political and physical boundaries remains a national priority, and the expansion of the university system to achieve international competitiveness is seen as an important stimulus for that development.Last year we explored the proposal for the University of Paris Sud XI science campus in the Moulon area of the Saclay plateau to the southwest of the city. Building on analyses of the region and morphologies of campus and open space in that studio, this semester we will turn to another site on the plateau- the area west of the Ecole Polytechnique. This sector will be developed as \”a campus of campuses\” for several post graduate \”grandes ecoles\” and research institutes together with research based companies in related sciences, student housing, and retail services. The landscape and urban design framework of the team of Michel Desvignes working on the site will be our point of departure for consideration of the campus district as well as the architectural development of a campus center building. Pedagogic Goals and MethodologyThe tradition of the \”quartier universitaire,\” (an entire quarter of the city permeated with university buildings) remains a compelling ideal in France. Attempts in the 1960\’s and 70\’s to create new campuses on the outskirts of the city in the American tradition have met with mixed success. While the ideal of a pastoral campus with library and academic buildings gathered around a leafy quadrangle is frequently evoked, the reality of current planning for the next wave of university expansion focuses on providing much needed research office and workspace and threatens to result in developments more like office parks than communities of living and learning. It is in this context that we will explore the urban design and architectural strategies capable of redefining a culturally viable notion of campus on the periphery.As in previous studios, Prof. Antoine Picon will provide background on the growth of the Paris metropolitan area and the various systems of higher education. The studio will include a component of individual research in parallel with the design project.