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Getting through it: Driving test centre Gennevilliers, France by A+Samueldelmas.

Ambulatory space.

I am not sure I have come across an archetype quite like this before. I think the building is a driving test and administration centre, but some of the functions seem to be about more general road safety education and test driving. It could just be that it is normal to mix these in Gennevilliers, France where the building is located. In my experience driving test and education centres are seldom purpose built, so when they are, what sort of architectural expression might be appropriate?

One key to understanding this might well be to remember how nervous you were when sitting for your driving test. It seems that the architect A+Samueldelmas remembered the experience and used it for their inspiration.

There two key entrances to the building: one is the front entrance, the other is opposite. The metaphorical suggestion seems to be you can get through this! Intersecting with the foyer is a double loaded corridor leading to the classrooms, auditorium and other facilities.

The façade has a screen made from timber or metal vertical slats. It provides sun shade but also creates an interesting pattern when driving past the building. The slat spacing is modulated according to the function of the space behind. Internally the building is bright and light, and that for some means there is optimism whatever your test result.

Front elevation

Detail of emtrance.

Rear entrance.

View down the ambulatory.


Office space.

Office space

Rest area.

Window detail.

Night shot.


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DETAIL 7+8/2020
DETAIL 7-8/2020

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