Tarascon - Jules Ferry School
- department: Bouches-du-Rhône
- Municipality: Tarascon
- naming: Jules Ferry School
- address: avenue de Porrentruy / boulevard Alphonse Daudet
- authors: Pierre VAGO (Chief Reconstruction Architect and Operation Architect), Pierre GUESNOT (Alternate Architect), Marcel GUESNOT (Architect)
- date: 1948-1952
- protection: unprotected building
- label patrimoine XXe: Commission régionale du patrimoine et des sites (CRPS) du 3 July 2012
The former boys' school, now Jules Ferry School, was built between 1948 and 1952 as part of the Downtown Reconstruction. It replaced the school built by Henri Révoil (1822-1900) between 1880 and 1888 on Avenue de la République, destroyed in 1944. The new school located along the boulevard Magloire Itam (district of the cemetery) is among the first significant achievements of Pierre Vago. He also worked on the reconstruction of neighbourhoods and buildings located in Arles: Zola (1947-1949), Sainte-Famille (1948-1950), Saint-Pierre de Trinquetaille (1952-1953). The school built in Tarascon was Pierre Vago’s first school construction. In the conduct of this project, he enjoys a rather great freedom: the obligatory framework of 1.75 m which, soon, will govern all school construction in France, is not yet in order. His project thus reflects the aspirations of an architect who supported the idea that it was necessary to be of his time and place, which excluded copying and pastiche, and also any stereotypical and cosmopolitan formalism.
The two main buildings, of rectangular plans, are of substantially similar size and both slightly elevated in relation to ground level, but benefit from different treatments at the elevation level.
The vigorous articulation of the volumes, the use of roof terrace, the flatness of the facades, the predominance of straight lines and sharp edges, contribute to create an architecture with cubist geometry. Its aesthetic is essentially based on the alternation of fullness and emptiness and on the play of shadow and light that result. This definitely inscribed it in the repertoire of the Modern Movement.
The Jules Ferry school has, for all these reasons, value of architectural manifesto, especially since it is one of the first symbols of the Reconstruction. Through this project, Pierre Vago reveals his personal conception of modernity: an architecture that he wants to be attentive to the context, "the party is controlled by the terrain and the climatic conditions of the country" he says, but who affirms its innovative character with a certain radicality.
The Jules Ferry school arrives today in a state close to the original one. The building has undergone only a few minor modifications.
- Source: Inventory study of the architectural and urban production of Arles and Tarascon (13) from 1900 to 1980, drac paca/ Eléonore Marantz-Jaen, 2010
Read also in Heritage of the 20th century, the study Tarascon, city and architecture of the twentieth century