December 2018

Year in Review: A new home on the Seine

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AS WE MOVE QUICKLY TOWARDS A NEW YEAR, WE ARE TAKING A MOMENT TO LOOK BACK AT SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF 2018 WITH OUR SERIES: A YEAR IN REVIEW. As we wrap up 2018, we are looking to 2019 and a truly exciting evolution on the AUP campus. In March 2019, we will open the much anticipated new Student Life and Learning Center at 69, quai d'Orsay. Here David Horn, Director of Campus Planning and Facilities, looks back on a year of dramatic change for AUP.

March 2019 will mark a key milestone in the history of The American University of Paris: we will open our flagship Student Life and Learning Center at 69, quai d’Orsay. This is the culmination of a comprehensive campus development plan launched in 2013. It signals our strategic commitment to continue offering the best American education to a community of internationally-minded Global Explorers from across the world, in the heart of one of the world’s great cities.

Since we first made our home in the 7th arrondissement of Paris 56 years ago, we have relished in the joys – and taken on the challenges – of operating in this charming Parisian neighborhood. Space is one of those challenges, and five years ago, we resolved to fully engage with it, embarking on a multi-year project to consolidate and enhance our urban campus. We moved into the Passage Landrieu classroom and office building, renovated our Combes building to create a Student Life Center, renovated our Grenelle building to create a Teaching and Mentoring Center and brought together all our core administrative units at a single location on the boulevard de la Tour-Maubourg.

But we hadn’t yet managed to fulfil one of our dreams. We envisioned creating a single facility on campus that would bring together the essential spaces and support a student might need in order to lead a successful academic career, prepare for professional life and delight in Paris while engaging with communities on campus and beyond. We were envisioning a Student Life and Learning Center.

Finally – thanks to dogged determination and a dose of serendipity – after much searching, we were overjoyed to locate the perfect building in 2016. Directly adjacent to our existing Student Life Center, 69 quai d’Orsay is blessed with a breathtaking panoramic view over the Seine river. With ten floors in the north-facing main building, and several smaller buildings on the south-facing courtyard, this site offered just the number of square meters we needed to create our new facility.

However, it required major construction before we could move in. As soon as we finalized the purchase in August 2017, we launched the renovation project. We removed all of the interior partitions, fixtures and finishes, demolished the courtyard buildings, removed significant quantities of asbestos, created two large openings on every floor of the main building to create the two staircases required by local fire code, built two new elevator shafts and installed the elevators, replaced all the windows, put in a new ventilation system, installed a new boiler and fully replaced all of the electrical systems.

On the courtyard side – just behind Combes – we built a four-floor rear building and planted a state-of-the art vertical garden covering the entire façade of this new structure. Between the rear building and the main building, we constructed a light-filled reading room with a glass roof reminiscent of a Parisian artist’s atelier.

As we close out 2018 and look towards the new year, our construction teams are working actively to finish partitioning the space and installing all the new interior fixtures and finishes.

In March 2019, students, faculty and staff will discover our largest campus site, the Student Life and Learning Center on the quai d’Orsay and the rue du Colonel Combes. Featuring event spaces, a student café, student lounges, an art gallery, student organizations, study spaces, meeting rooms, Library collections, research help, peer tutoring and writing support, academic, internship and career advising, housing support, health services and counseling, athletics, multimedia and tech support, faculty support, classrooms, research centers, and much more. This vibrant new facility will offer something of value to every member of our community.


Keep up to date with the developments at 69, quai d'Orsay through David Horn's blog