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Les Graines D'Etoiles Nursery by Atelier Fernandez & Serres, Aix en Provence, France

The conspicuous bright yellow concrete structure announces the presence of Atelier Fernandez & Serres’ nursery in the countryside. Photography by Fernandez & Serres

With something of Barragan about it in terms of colour, and something of Spaniard Alberto Campo Baeza about its relation to its organisation and form, it is little surprise that this distinctive yellow and magenta four-square building drew the attention of this year’s jury. Set amidst Park Duranne’s landscape of large mature trees, the boxy form is conspicuous to say the least.

It does, however, give little away from the outside, with expressionless walls. Made in pre-cast ribbed concrete, the bright corrugated surfaces break up and distort reflections from the trees, while a central smooth box stands taller, in accordance with and giving form to the nursery’s centralised plan.

The four-square plan sets four wings of accommodation around the central, double-height space, with each wing organised around its own centralised roof light, boldly lined with magenta walls. The education framework that the architects describe also includes the provision of ‘planted components’, that together with the bright colours help promote the ‘emotional nature of learning and enlightenment of children’. The architects say the colour has also been used more publically to ‘signal the presence of children in the midst of the Aix countryside’.

Architect Atelier Fernandez & Serres, Aix en Provence, France
Project team Stéphane Fernandez, Ivry Serres

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