After an international competition Henning Larsen has been named the designer of NEOMA’s new French Business School, in Reims, France. Forty internationally renowned architects’ practices, all with a portfolio of major projects in higher education, competed to design these new spaces.
The contract was awarded to the Danish company chosen for a project combining innovation, respect for the environment and above all a focus on student life. Besides Henning Larsen, the winning team includes Patriarche, Egis, Elioth, Etamine, Acoustb and Creafactory.
“We are extremely pleased that we were able to win the competition for the new NEOMA campus with our design” says Nina la Cour Sell, Design Director and Partner at Henning Larsen Architects. “This project builds on our expertise in university construction from more than 60 years and adds a special focus on user health and wellbeing based on recent valuable research. We are looking forward to develop our thoughts further together with NEOMA”
Located west of the center of Reims, the site chosen for the new NEOMA school is part of a neighborhood in transfer: Port Colbert. This is a former industrial site today partially abandoned to which the city of Reims wants to give a second wind. In the past, the Port Colbert district was full of all the city industries: Reims breweries and cast-iron workshops aluminum among other things. The objective of the city of Reims and of our project is to convert this sector, while preserving and enhancing what makes the identity of this place: its history and its industrial heritage.
“This project offers several advantages, especially a strong visual identity which will make the campus clearly recognizable,” explains Delphine Manceau, Dean of NEOMA Business School. “It combines very strong identifying elements, for example the large hall which places the student at the heart of the building. We also favored the use of wood and glass to promote a friendly atmosphere and flood the area with light. Several easy-to-access green spaces are planned for both the inside and outside of the campus.”
As is often the case in centrally located former industrial areas budding small businesses and local “pop up” events that have populated the area of the site in recent years. The new NEOMA campus is inspired by this entrepreneurial atmosphere that has changed the area from a geographical location to a PLACE in people's minds.
“With the new NEOMA, we want to keep this impression of “anything can happen” and create an open invitation to shape and to take ownership of its environment and its future,” says Søren Øllgaard, Design Director, Europe and partner at Henning Larsen.
The new campus, which opens towards the canal and parks that surround it, the offers views of bustling student life and the central structure in wood attracts the attention of passers-by with its stepped green landscape. The school holds 85 classrooms, two amphitheaters and event space with a 750-seat auditorium accessible from outside.
In line with the school’s strong commitments in terms of sustainable development, the future Reims site aims to be an environmental benchmark, with internationally recognized certifications such as LEED, WELL and E+C. The project also places the health and well-being of students and staff at the center of its design.
Construction is expected to start in spring of 2023; move-in is expected for summer 2025.