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Lycée français de Barcelona, b720 Fermín Vázquez Architects, Foto: Simón García

In Dialogue: Lycée Français by b720 Fermín Vázquez Architects

Two rectangular buildings characterize the slightly raised grounds of the Lycée Français de Barcelona. They are positioned longitudinally parallel to each other and encompass a shared courtyard. The southern transverse façades look towards the road coming from the southeast. Here a staircase leads directly to the schoolyard, which has been designed as a small playground.

On the left, there is the old two-storey mansion. b720 Fermín Vázquez Architects have painstakingly restored this building and preserved its original character. The façades are a subtle shade of beige which sets off the columns and other historical details. Opposite this, the new school building has arisen. It is larger than the old building and with its three storeys, it is also higher. The basement level opens to the east, towards the road, and functions as a direct access to the added building. A bridge on the first upper level links the two structures. It is open and becomes a terrace where it joins onto the new structure.

At first glance, the design of the new building and the mansion could hardly be more different. But a closer look reveals the rounded corners that b720 Fermín Vázquez Architects have added as a nod to the historical look of the old building. Moreover, the new structure features a façade of vertical slats. In various widths, lengths and colours, these create a vivid appearance. Depending on their position and alignment, they have been mounted at various distances to each other and accentuate the gradual course of the white, yellow and orange elements.

In terms of the spatial program, b720 Fermín Vázquez Architects have distributed the functional areas of the Lycée Français over both of the buildings. While the old mansion is devoted to representative and shared activities in the form of administration, the library and music rooms, the new wing is home to the classrooms. Each storey corresponds to one particular school level.

The interior is bright and colourful. Its chromatic scheme follows that of the façades and is rounded out by exposed-concrete surfaces and warm wooden elements in the form of built-ins and ceiling formwork.

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