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Nursery School & Early Childhood Centre, Aire sur la Lys, France

Parallele Architectes

The nursery school and early childhood center of Aire sur la Lys was designed as a playful and welcoming place, fitting children scale and development. The building’s thematic mainly focuses on child’s self-fulfillment, from the protection he seeks at the start of his life, to his first initiatives, by the creation of volumes and spaces taking part of his awakening.

The project was conceived with the image of early childhood’s nest, from what constitutes the protection of the egg, to its hatching. Continuous facades and roofs give form to a protective shell around the project, and at its heart appears life, hatching with the south orientated recreational spaces.

Project’s roofs are articulated like paper-folding, in such a way that gaps are created which allow natural light to flow inside, illuminating each and every one of the internal functions sheltered by the building.

Besides those metaphoric considerations, through its technical features (high density insulation, pumice-stone walls, green roofs, low emissivity glazing, ...) the building has a low energy consumption, and matches the BBC Cep-50% label.

Copper was a material of choice to achieve the expression of these intentions, and obtain the quality of light wanted for the project. The Classic copper we chose, with an oxidization blocking polymer surfacing, has a distinctive glare, constantly changing according to faces slope.

It was the first time in Nord-Pas-de-Calais region that this type of product was used. Close work with specialist copper contractor VATP on the building site, and extreme care in details allowed to reach the level of expectations for this type of program. 1200m² of standing seam roof was built, and vertical frames support 400m² copper panels, 350mm wide, to guaranty the flatness of the facade. Specific details were realized, like an I metallic profile shape recall along the roofing periphery, and very discrete brazing.

In conclusion, with the volumetric possibilities it allows and its expressive properties, copper played an important role in the realization of our main scheme. We wanted this project to be part of an educational choice, contributing to environmental quality of our new generations of children, and buildings.

Client :                                      City of Aire sur la Lys

Site area :                                 4250m²

Nursery school :                        1900m²

                                                7 classrooms for 210 children, canteen, gym

Early childhood center :             500m²

                                                31 beds, care, prevention and child minder center, school bus stop

Schoolyard :                             aprox. 2000m²



City of Aire sur la Lys
Completion date: 
Aire sur la Lys


Type of building: 
Copper used: 


Name, office: 
Parallele Architectes
Address & description: 
4 rue du Château59000 LILLEFranceTél:



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