LILLE – Wedged between an elementary school and a kindergarten, the newest project by D’Houndt + Bajart adds a touch of whimsy to an otherwise ordinary residential neighbourhood in Lille.
Standing on a corner plot in Lomme, a western suburb of the French city, the new canteen serves as a common meeting point between the two neighbouring schools. In order to define the public street, the building has been pushed to the edge of the plot and clad in brick, just like the surrounding residential and educational buildings.
However, unlike its ordinary surroundings, the architects have opted for an abstract façade, where colourful bricks have been laid out in a snakeskin-like pattern. ‘This is meant to activate the imaginary potential of architecture in young children,’ say the architects. ‘At the same time, the building forms a monolithic and protective boundary.’
The dining spaces are organised around a small courtyard defined by the corner building, while the administrative and service areas are organised along the street elevation. The courtyard itself functions as an extension of the educational aspect of the kindergarten where the children are encouraged to grow vegetables in the small patches.