PARIS – In Choisy-le-Roi, a southern suburb of Paris, Brenac + Gonzales have realised a new media library. Replacing an old building from 1885, the new-built rises on the left bank of the Seine and refocuses the municipality’s cultural and public life towards the river, which had long been cut off by railway tracks and docks.
In order to emphasize the public character of the building, the architects have lifted the bulk of its volume above the ground, which now hosts a large, transparent entrance hall that contains public exhibition space. The actual programme, comprising collections of books for the youth and adults, as well as multimedia, offices and a multipurpose room, freely alternate with reading spaces.
This sequence is organised in a long, spiralling ribbon that allows multiple views onto the river and the town, reaffirming its connection to the urban landscape. According to the architects, the perforated aluminium cladding on the upper floors of the buildings and its overall angular form refer to the industrial port functions scattered alongside the river.
The architects point out that the spatial organisation of the new médiathèque represents a progress through knowledge, but also that the open floor plan and the coiled circulation create possibilities for new connections between readers and visitors of different ages and backgrounds.