The INET (Institut National des Etudes Territoriales) is a continuing education centre for officials in the French civil service. Architects Grégoire Zündel and Irina Cristea of AZC and Michel Spitz of MSA designed the Strasbourg location.
In compliance with urban and functional requirements, the INET complex fits into its triangular lot with two volumes. The first, lower volume repeats the shape of the lot and is horizontally oriented; this is the volume containing the “school”, with classrooms arranged around an inner courtyard, centrally located in relation to the construction. The courtyard becomes an informal meeting-place and helps make the organisation of space clear and instantly legible. The second volume is primarily vertical, and contains the offices. The point where the two fit together is underlined on the outside with a cut in the tall volume of the office building containing the oblique roof over the grand staircase. Its height and position in a corner of the lot make the vertical volume a visible sign in the urban context of the complex as a whole.
The clear, flexible, orderly spatial layout includes one alienating element: a wooden staircase. Its sculptural shape is a sudden burst of colourful emotion, like a big ribbon winding between different floors, visible even from the central courtyard, until it rises above the roof of the first volume to identify the point of contact between the two and ideally continue into the taller building.
Team AZC: Grégoire Zündel, Irina Cristea www.zundelcristea.com (Costruzione) Stefano Lunardi
MSA: Michel Spitz, www.msa-architectes.fr (Costruzione) Nathalie Haas
Location: Strasbourg, France
Photos: © Sergio Grazia