The new Music and Dance Conservatory is located in the Parisian suburb of Noisy-le-Sec, close to major municipal buildings, such as the town hall and the media library. The site borders on three streets; surroundings vary in scale between one-family houses and tall residential towers. The project consolidates five programs, formerly scattered across different locations. It provides improved technical, acoustical, and spatial conditions, as well as an increased capacity for a growing population of students.

Architect: Jakob+MacFarlane
Client: EPT Grand Paris Est Ensemble – The City of Noisy‐le‐Sec
Location: Noisy‐le‐Sec, France
Surface area: 2500 m2
Capacity: 1000 students
Completed: 2017


Structural Engineers: Batiserf | MEP Engineers: Alto Ingénierie | Acoustics: Jean-Paul Lamoureux | Sc enography: DUCKS Scéno

photographer: Judith Bormand.

Nadia and Lili Boulanger, music and dance conservatory By jakob + macfarlane - Sheet2
©Judith Bormand.

Our intention was to bring together music, dance, and architecture. The U-shaped building resembles an extraordinary musical instrument. Exterior street facades are in poured in place concrete, while the interior courtyard facades and roof either glass or green, thermo-lacquered aluminium panels. The architectural language creates a sense of dynamism without imposing itself neither on the users nor on the neighbourhood.

Nadia and Lili Boulanger, music and dance conservatory By jakob + macfarlane - Sheet3
©Judith Bormand.

Pedestrianised outdoor public space creates a link with neighbouring cultural facilities. To enhance the project’s social aspects, the courtyard offers seating both inside and outside and opens towards a street corner. Inside the building, an open staircase creates a new shared space with a strong urban feel.

The ground floor lobby directs students and staff to the different levels of the Conservatory, but also leads to the Auditorium and to the supplementary courtyard used for deliveries. The rest of the ground floor is occupied by recording studios and administration offices.

The first floor fosters interaction between students of music and dance. It houses three main dance studios, generously lit though large windows, as well as spaces for studying music. The second floor hosts different-sized rehearsal rooms adapted for one-on-one classes and teaching small groups. The rooftop terrace offers spectacular views of the courtyard space and the neighbourhood.

Nadia and Lili Boulanger, music and dance conservatory By jakob + macfarlane - Sheet5
©Judith Bormand.

Note on acoustics:

Teaching music and dance is central to the programme, therefore acoustic requirements have largely defined the interior design of the Conservatory; a unified approach to acoustics was adapted in all classrooms throughout the building. This is reflected in all aspects of the design, starting from the building’s faceted shape, which helps avoid parallel walls and thus creates optimal acoustic conditions inside the building.

The multi-use auditorium is intended both for internal use and for public concerns. It was designed as an adaptable, highly functional space that can be configured for three different acoustic scenarios: amplified music, non-amplified music, and dance performances. This is achieved through an innovative system of sliding, foldable wooden panels on each side of the auditorium, as well as the orientable panels suspended from the ceiling.


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