École Centrale Engineering School
by OMA


OMA has won a competition to design a new campus for the École Centrale school of engineering in France by proposing a 'superblock' of separate buildings within a single gridded structure (+ slideshow).

École Centrale Engineering School by OMA

Proposed for Saclay, near Paris, the entire complex will be sheltered beneath a square glass roof, creating covered outdoor spaces between each of the buildings.

École Centrale Engineering School by OMA

"The design integrates urbanism with the school, supplanting the homogeneous experience of the campus," said OMA director Clément Blanchet. "It's an attempt to define the actual aesthetic of science."

École Centrale Engineering School by OMA

A long pathway will cut diagonally across the campus, creating a route to a neighbouring engineering school at one end and a proposed metro station at the other.

École Centrale Engineering School by OMA

An additional block will be constructed over the roof, providing a gym, administrative offices and extra classrooms for first year students.

École Centrale Engineering School by OMA

See more stories about OMA here, including a series of movies we filmed with partner Reinier de Graaf at the Venice Architecture Biennale.

Here's some more information from OMA:

OMA Wins Competition for École Centrale Engineering School in Saclay, France

OMA has won the competition for the new École Centrale engineering school and its surrounding urban development in the research and innovation zone of Saclay, southwest of Paris. With the concept of a “lab city,” OMA was selected from four competing international architectural practices. The project is led by Clément Blanchet, director of OMA projects in France.

École Centrale Engineering School by OMA

In contrast to the corridor/room linearity of the typical laboratory, OMA’s design is a low level, glass-roofed superblock containing an open plan grid inside, where various activities can interact and be overlooked simultaneously. The grid offers the freedom to generate a new typology for learning, cultivating collaboration while maintaining the stable conditions of the engineering school’s primary pedagogical function.

École Centrale Engineering School by OMA

A diagonal main street slices through the grid, connecting with a future metro station for Paris at one end, and the existing engineering school, Supelec, at the other. In the centre of the project, a forum rises above the grid, offering a focal point of activity for the school. This platform accommodates a gym, administration center and classrooms for first year students, winding its way up through and above the field. This stack is conceived as a training machine offering a complementary condition to the small, intricate spaces in the horizontal field of “lab city.”

École Centrale Engineering School by OMA

Site plan - click above for larger image

The project was developed in collaboration with Bollinger and Grohman, Alto, DHV, DAL, and D’Ici Là. OMA is currently working on several projects in France, including a masterplan for 50,000 housing units in Bordeaux, a new library in Caen, and a convention centre in Toulouse.

École Centrale Engineering School by OMA

Section - click above for larger image

  • Jay

    I would love to study here! This is great! Bringing the inside out and bringing the outside in!

    • Lew

      A night at the Roxbury!

  • aleks

    And I thought that OMA was out like 20 years ago… but hey here they are… still ‘working’ :)

  • OgierdeBeauseant

    Great! Leave behind the idea of a building as an art object. This is a variant of mat building which I hope will be a harbinger of the future.

  • DeliriousParis

    Masdar City meets Henning Larsen.

  • pcm

    This concept’s been done before by SANAA.

  • shahd

    The building’s form beautifully expresses science and engineering through simplicity and clarity.It shelters a well integrated urban space within, which encourages interaction, while the whole building is well integrated with the urban context as well.

  • Scott W

    The interior is fantastic. Love how active and connected the whole design is. Can’t wait to see the execution – I think the lighting and the materials will further bring out these qualities.