André Malraux Elementary School Complex

Montpellier - France

The André Malraux School Complex in Montpellier is a project that develops on two levels. The ground level houses the nursery, the cafeteria, and the recreation courtyard, filled with vegetation. The second level is terraced off the footprint of the ground floor and the sloped terrain between the two becomes the playground.


The André Malraux School Complex takes advantage of the site topography and is inserted in the sloped terrain that links the rue Joan Miro and the rue du Mas Rouge. The recreation courtyards are protected from the dominant winds and oriented towards the south by placing buildings to the north and the west. 

The façade on rue Joan Miro extends the typology of constructions from central Montpellier into the new neighborhood. However, the façade is not rebuilt with the same materiality; it is reinterpreted in wood, giving the building a contemporary with a sustainable structure in wood and concrete. Quotations by André Malraux are sculpted into the wood façade.

A volume of green-oxidized titanium perforates the façade on the second floor, creating a shelter in front of the school. Adjustable louvers animate the volume. 

Photovoltaic panels act as a brise-soleil over the wood façade and the light wells in the roof. They are the symbol of an energy-positive building. In the recreation courtyard, two canopies also create shade.

The school’s placement, orientation, and volumes are responses to necessary functions as well as certain architectural reflections. These reflections include the day-lighting of classrooms and hallways during winter, the reduction of overheating during summer, and the natural cross-ventilation of the school in order to optimize energy consumption. 

The city’s energy objective is the label “BEPOS”; it will also be conceived with RT-2012+ regulations in mind.

PROGRAM School complex with cafeteria


CLIENT City of Montpellier TEAM Maison Edouard François, BETSO (Mech), Gecko (Quantity Surveyor), André Verdier (Struc)


AREA 4800m² SHON scolaire + 1000m² SHON BUDGET 6.2 M€ Schedule Competition 2012


ENVIRONMENTAL LABELS BEPOS, Positive Energy Building, RT-2012+




Rue Joan Miro

34000 Montpellier