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International School à la Zen

-Sabina Griffith & Robert Arnoux

"The International School's architecture reflects our Mediterranean culture," Michel Vauzelle, the president of the PACA region, said on Monday. (Click to view larger version...)
"The International School's architecture reflects our Mediterranean culture," Michel Vauzelle, the president of the PACA region, said on Monday.
Young Philippe is obviously having fun chasing his classmate around one of the 350 concrete pillars that form a protruding part of the architecture of the new building housing the International School in Manosque.

On Monday morning, the 154 children of the primary school moved from their temporary habitat in the Lycée des Iscles to the new building: an ample single-floor structure with walls covered in arch wood and beams of concrete painted in "gris de la Durance" that irradiate irregular streaks of light and shade onto the water-filled patio. Although parts of the school are still under construction and plants haven't yet had time to take root, the pathways connecting the buildings are very "Zen." But this will soon change now that the first young inhabitants have moved in.

The masterminds behind the concept for the new International School are the architects Rudy Ricciotti and Jean-Michel Battesti. Their revolutionary idea of "bringing nature into the school" was realized thanks to an investment of 55 million Euros from the Regional Council of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA). "What I see here is even better than what I had hoped for," said Michel Vauzelle, the president of PACA who had come to Manosque for the inauguration. "It was our duty to finance this institution that has no equivalent in the world. The International School's architecture reflects our Mediterranean culture — all children will benefit from such an environment. They will keep inscribed in their mind something that reminds them of Provence."


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