Future learning: Auer Weber revamps Lille University’s iconic library

Lille University's 1965 library located in the Cité des Sciences
Lille University's 1965 library – located in the Cité des Sciences – has just been given a makeover by Munich architecture practice Auer Weber
(Image credit: Aldo Amoretti)

Designed to celebrate education and the learning process, the library of the Cité des Sciences at Lille University was designed in 1965 by French architect Noël Le Maresquier in collaboration with Jean Vergnaud. Soon, the round building became an icon for the campus, with its elaborate white volume, circular floorplan and views in all directions.

Fast forward some 50 years and the university library in Villeneuve d’Ascq was in urgent need of renovation; enter German architecture firm Auer Weber, which has just completed a detailed refurbishment of the modernist building, now renamed the ‘Learning Centre’.

Retaining the original building’s key characteristics and overall form, the architects worked hard to bring the generous reading and book storage areas into the 21st century, incorporating new technologies wherever needed.

The central library hall has always been flooded with light through a dome made of glass elements right at the cylindrical centre’s heart. As this was not up to modern thermal and acoustic standards, Auer Weber replaced it with a contemporary version that uses a metal structure and insulated glazing.

A new landscape design envelops the existing building. This combines planting, a discreet, low extension to the original building and a public square, aimed at becoming a new outdoors social space for the campus’ students. The extension contains a central entrance hall, an auditorium and three conference rooms, an exhibition space and the research-focused Xperium: a brand new area, where the students' research results will be presented to the public.

The new Learning Centre is scheduled to open its doors in September 2016, just in time for the new academic year. 

Future learning: Auer Weber revamps Lille University’s iconic library

The firm retained the existing library's iconic shape, while revamping the interiors and adding an extension and new landscaping

(Image credit: Aldo Amoretti)

Auer Weber revamps Lille University’s iconic library

The new extension contains an entrance hall, an auditorium and three conference rooms, an exhibition space and a dedicated presentation area for student work

(Image credit: Aldo Amoretti)

The library's generous reading and book storage areas

The library's generous reading and book storage areas were brought into the 21st century, incorporating new technologies wherever needed

(Image credit: Aldo Amoretti)

An existing glass dome at the heart of the complex was replaced by a contemporary version

An existing glass dome at the heart of the complex was replaced by a contemporary version that uses a metal structure and insulated glazing

(Image credit: Aldo Amoretti )

INFORMATION

For more information, visit the Auer Weber website (opens in new tab)

Photography: Aldo Amoretti 

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).