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Whimsical Pink and Black School Connects its Students to the Sea

Here's a dash of color to get you past the finish line this Friday morning: This bright and blocky nursery and elementary school is located on the south coast of France in Montpellier, only 10 kilometers (or about 6.2 miles) inland from the Mediterranean Sea.

Designed by Dominique Coulon & Associés in Strasbourg with a mind toward connecting with the nearby sea, the cantilevered structure sits on top of a triangular plot of land and features classrooms that are open at either end. This north-south configuration allows sunlight to flood the space while also promoting natural cooling from the cross breeze.

The nursery and the extracurricular centers occupy the ground floor, while the primary school occupies the two floors above it. They are arranged in an unusual system of discrete cubic volumes—all made in different materials and colors including pink, black, and grey—that are stacked on top of one another while also appearing to slide over each other. One section's cantilevering placement acts as another's covering. This unique plan mimics the meandering movements of children whose walking paths—and learning behaviors—are dynamic.

Glimpsing the photos below will have you wishing you were back in school, playing with blocks in an all-pink classroom, instead of hammering away in an office. But not to worry—the weekend is just around the corner.