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Is there an essential space to the School?


There are as many types of schools as there are societies. In France, for exam-ple, the republican model dominates, and undoubtedly defines a space of its own. When you look at the program of elementary schools, you always find contradictory demands of closedness and openness. The buildings should at once open to the city, and ensure the protection of children. This contradiction is at the heart of the republican ideal of laicity which implies to create buildings that are similar to islands of neutrality, providing a specific space where diver-sity is deliberately neutralised, as a means to protect children from difference and conflict, both among them and from the outside. When you think of it, it is a strange conception of publicness as you can only achieve it by means of a hermetic inner-space. This inner-space is an allegory of the Republican values. When you realise that, it becomes clear that schools do not serve to teach chil-dren grammar or mathematics, as much as they serve to integrate them into the system, and ensure that they learn the rules of the society that are going to live in. They are like micro-societies where kids rehearse their future social position.

MUOTO is an architectural office based in Paris, founded by Gilles Delalex and Yves Moreau in 2003. Its activities cover the fields of architecture, urbanism, design and scientific research. Muoto means form in Finnish.
Muoto’s work often features minimal structures made of rough materials, as a means to combine different activities, and merge economical as well as aesthetic issues. Verti-cal diversity as an articulation between building and city scales is a recurrent figure in Muoto’s projects. The office has been rewarded by several prizes, such as Holcim Awards 2014, Equerre d’Argent 2016, and Bauwelt 2017. 
Gilles Delalex is a French architect. He studied architecture in Grenoble and Montreal. He holds a Master in urban planning and a Doctorate of Arts from Alvar Aalto Univer-sity Helsinki. He is a professor at the School of Paris-Malaquais, where he h eads the department “Theory, History and Project”. Since 1998, he has been a research fellow at the Liat Lab focusing on modernity and infrastructures.
Yves Moreau is a Dutch-Belgian architect. He studied at the Ecole des Arts de Saint Luc in Brussels and graduated from Chalmers Teknista Högskala, Göteborg. Between 2000 and 2001, he collaborated with Blå Arkitektur Landskap, in Sweden. Between 2001 and 2006, he worked with Christian Dior and Dominique Perrault. In 2008 he was awarded the Nouveaux Albums des Jeunes Architectes and Paysagistes.

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