Paris music school by Basalt Architecture
features copper walls and cantilevered studios

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Two dance studios at the top of this copper-clad music conservatory in Paris by local studio Basalt Architecture project outwards from the facade to capture plenty of natural daylight (+ slideshow).

Music conservatory in Paris with cantilevered studios by Basalt Architecture

Basalt Architecture designed the Conservatoire Claude Debussy for a site on the edge of the 17th arrondissement, where it sits between classic Haussmann buildings to the south and more recent tower blocks to the north.

Music conservatory in Paris with cantilevered studios by Basalt Architecture

The boxes containing the dance studios cantilever from the northern facade and appear to reach towards the nearby residential towers.

Music conservatory in Paris with cantilevered studios by Basalt Architecture

"Creating a dialogue with the city, dance halls in the upper part seem detached with a particular volume that meets the residential buildings to the north," the architects told Dezeen. "Largely glazed, they offer soft and uniform light, oriented to the north."

Music conservatory in Paris with cantilevered studios by Basalt Architecture

The conservatory's entire exterior is clad in a shimmering skin of copper panels, which reference the colour of the nearby sandstone church of Sainte-Odile and the recent residential buildings.

Music conservatory in Paris with cantilevered studios by Basalt Architecture

"Copper allowed us to create a facade whose playful folds and perforations play with light by filtering sunlight during the day and sifting light outward at night," said the architects. "Copper is used as a natural material and its oxidation participates in the life of the building."

Music conservatory in Paris with cantilevered studios by Basalt Architecture

Hinged shutters on the facade facing the busy Rue de Courcelles feature perforated patterns which are arranged in different configurations to produce a random effect and to help shade the studios.

Music conservatory in Paris with cantilevered studios by Basalt Architecture

A 300-seat auditorium at the centre of the building steps down from the ground floor to a stage at basement level, with surrounding circulation spaces leading to other facilities including practice rooms and the dance studios.

Music conservatory in Paris with cantilevered studios by Basalt Architecture

Wide corridors receive natural light from central skylights and windows surrounding a small courtyard, lending the interior a degree of transparency that contrasts with the monolithic facade.

Music conservatory in Paris with cantilevered studios by Basalt Architecture

Windows allow views into some of the dance studios and practice rooms from outside or from internal circulation areas.

Music conservatory in Paris with cantilevered studios by Basalt Architecture

Materials throughout have been chosen for their practical, ecological and acoustic properties.

Music conservatory in Paris with cantilevered studios by Basalt Architecture

The courtyard on the second floor features wooden decking, walls and a raised planted bed.

Music conservatory in Paris with cantilevered studios by Basalt Architecture

Photography is by Sergio Grazia.

The architects sent us the following project description:


Music Conservatory in Paris' 17th Arrondissement

Building a new conservatory in Paris's 17th arrondissement is part and parcel of a new urban script that will mark the morphology and profile of this building located on the edge of Paris.

Music conservatory in Paris with cantilevered studios by Basalt Architecture

Located on a plot of land between two high-rise buildings, the conservatory stands at the interface of architectural scripts linked to the city's building heritage. On the edge of the 17th arrondissement to the south Haussmann-style buildings look across at social housing of a more recent period. So the conservatory is located at a strategic point due to its theme, i.e. the 17th arrondissement's history is closely linked with French music, and building this new edifice has to be worthy of this past.

Music conservatory in Paris with cantilevered studios by Basalt Architecture

It is strategic due to its urban location, located as it is on the rue de Courcelles, an important corridor for entering the city with its sight-line extending from the Boulevard Périphérique (ring-road) between two architectural eras and styles.

Music conservatory in Paris with cantilevered studios by Basalt Architecture

It is also the beginning of a new building fringe on the rue de Courcelles while waiting for the Consistory building. Aligned along the rue de Courcelles, the project is an oscillation from down to up through the play of external surfaces. It sends a strong signal through the city, a 20-metre-high benchmark in a green alley dominated by vegetation.

Music conservatory in Paris with cantilevered studios by Basalt Architecture

Visible from the Périphérique, its architectural treatment identifies it as a value-adding element by separating it from the publicity landscape that exists along the Parisian ring-road. Given its appearance and location, it is in constant dialogue with the city. On the one hand the dance studios in the upper floors with their expansive windows participate actively in the building's visual signal by standing out from the city with a specific volume that responds to the apartment buildings to the north. On the other side to the south, the building's pleated skin and its perforations that dialogue with the classic Haussmann-style buildings with their sturdy architecture.

Music conservatory in Paris with cantilevered studios by Basalt Architecture

Our project has been designed from inside to outside; we have conceived of the conservatory as a place for exchange, emulation, a crossroads of practices. This is the idea that has driven the project from the auditorium at its heart to the music rooms. Because that is how we have perceived the facilities. A place where people play, learn, dance and create. Sounds and movement emerge from this swirl of activities, this school of practice. Which is how the volumes came to life: a skin perforated by the beat of the melody that emerges and takes shape in the outer walls.

Music conservatory in Paris with cantilevered studios by Basalt Architecture

The script is there with the volume folding and undulating in the light and the beat of the perforations that enliven it by day and by night. A place of movement and emulation, the interior and exterior volumes shimmer and move, reinforced by the play of passageways and aerial walkways, the materials sometimes reflecting, sometimes absorbing the light like the paramount acoustics of the place.

Music conservatory in Paris with cantilevered studios by Basalt Architecture

Although the exterior volume, an urban signal and catalyst of the rue de Courcelles' recomposition, is intended to be monolithic with shape and folds that enwrap it–like the works of Christo–we have sought to dematerialise the core interior space to render it impalpable and vital.

Basement floor plan of Music conservatory in Paris with cantilevered studios by Basalt Architecture
Basement plan - click for larger image
Ground floor plan of Music conservatory in Paris with cantilevered studios by Basalt Architecture
Ground floor plan - click for larger image
First floor plan of Music conservatory in Paris with cantilevered studios by Basalt Architecture
First floor plan - click for larger image
Second floor plan of Music conservatory in Paris with cantilevered studios by Basalt Architecture
Second floor plan - click for larger image
Section of Music conservatory in Paris with cantilevered studios by Basalt Architecture
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