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whereas the drily charming city of amiens owes its worldwide fame to its cathedral, the biggest in france, it now sports one of the most fascinating architectural re-contextualizations in europe at the moment as well. not known to rank amongst the faint of heart in this field, renzo piano building workshop have gracefully transformed the city’s 17th century citadel into to the university of picardy jules verne‘s new campus. in a grand gesture, rpbw added clear, all but restrained structures to the premises which allow the historical buildings to shine, most of which remain intact, some barely touched. the result is an atmosphere of almost solemn clarity which focuses all its funk on the futuristic tower on the original places d’armes, its red top (which permeates the university’s communications designs as well) quite possibly being a nod to the citadel’s vintage brick structure.

we had the opportunity to visit the campus before it was opened to the public. these are our favorite shots…