At the start of the 2020-21 academic year, Sciences Po will open its new Parisian address, an expansion to its current campus in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, located at 1, place Saint-Thomas d’Aquin. The former site of the Hôtel de l’Artillerie will have completed its transformation into the future Parisian campus by then, but for the moment, it is a vast playground for excavators, shovels and construction workers. Our photographer, Martin Argyroglo, had the chance to roam the construction site and capture the work in progress.
The first machines and workers arrived on the site at the end of 2018. This first phase of preparatory work involved exposing the buildings’ true colours, and in the months that followed the cleaning process revealed the extent of fatigue they had suffered from several generations’ worth of occupants.
The Sebastopol courtyard, for instance, had at one time ceased to be a place of wandering: the former novitiate passed into the hands of military authorities at the end of the 18th century. After the First World War, the administration was anxious to optimise the available space and thus multiplied the number of offices located in these stone alleys, which retain traces of these renovations even today.
The Treuille de Beaulieu courtyard has been cleared out. It is destined to be excavated so as to accommodate the Sciences Po Journalism School and an adjoining garden.
Inside the buildings that surround the Gribeauval courtyard, lining elements and plasterboard cladding have been removed. The structure appears naked, allowing us to observe traces of work conducted nearly a decade ago. The interiors have been redesigned to allow for the addition of a first floor.
In March 2019, under the first rays of the spring sun, the great metal jaws of the excavator swallowed whole, section-by-section, the large building that sat in the middle of the Gribeauval courtyard, leaving room for a courtyard lined with trees.
In the Gribeauval courtyard, all that falls to the ground is not simply whisked away without a second thought; the objective of a “green construction” such as that of 1, place Saint-Thomas d’Aquin implies a deep commitment to being ecologically responsible. Waste materials are not disposed en masse, but rather they are inspected and sorted towards their respective recycling methods. Each one will be granted a new life: metal will be recycled, while concrete will be pulverized for reuse.
This July, from the place Saint-Thomas d’Aquin, the construction crane was mounted onto the site and the foundation stone was inlaid: the construction phase could now begin.
A detailed narration of the progress and more photos of the construction work can be found below:
The site in pictures: episode 1, the work begins
The site in pictures: episode 2, demolition (FR)
The site in pictures: episode 3, a gigantic crane (FR)
For all the latest news about the upcoming campus extension, visit the blog of the project, Campus 2022.
Photo credits: Martin Argyroglo