BOURG-LA-REINE – The will to preserve a 100-year-old walnut tree inspires the form of the newly-built media library in the city centre of Bourg-la-Reine. The building, designed by Paris-based agency Pascale Guédot, is strategically situated amongst other public facilities. While the library blends in subtlety with the urban fabric, its design is intentionally noticeable.
The architect designed the library as a unified, faceted building. The grey quartzite-stone construction gives the building its monolithic character. However, on closer inspection, each façade corresponds to a particular context. The boulevard façade, for example, is fully glazed revealing the depth of the library. As it angles along the corner, one is led to the entrance façade where the doors are nestled within the encompassing fold of the wall. At the rear of the building, as the architect explains, ‘the facade flips around and loops about its anchoring point: a splendid hundred-year-old tree.’ The result is a beautiful outdoor courtyard, a summer reading area shaded by the walnut tree.
From the inside, the garden is exposed by a wide opening. The kids' section occupies most of the ground floor, while reading rooms are tucked in the corners of the structure. A stone wall from the outside continues inside, merging both exterior and interior. Attached to the same wall, the staircase, leading to the adult section above, is also clad with the grey quartzite that gives the media library its unity. On the second floor, a voluminous space is created by the ceiling’s multiple facets, where the building rises to let in plenty of natural light.
Photo courtesy of Hervé Abbadie