Kaan Architecten and Pranlas-Descours design minimalist mixed-use building in Lille’s growing urban district
A brand new mixed-use building has joined Lille’s ever-growing urban development in the Euralille district. The work of Dutch Kaan Architecten and French architect Jean-Pierre Pranlas-Descours, the new addition – named CMA, a.k.a. Chambre de Métiers et de l’Artisanat des Hauts-de-Franc (CMA is the French Chamber of Trades and Craftmenship) – hosts spaces for education, offices, public functions and an auditorium for events.
The structure is designed in Kaan’s signature grown-up minimalism, putting an emphasis on transparency, lightness and natural light. Arranged largely in a horizontal manner, the building, which spans three floors, also features a cantilever on the first level, which wraps around the building jutting out towards the surrounding environment – parts of the city and countryside beyond.
With two busy public entrances to the complex, leading the visitor deep into its heart and different areas of activity, the project is also punctuated by six open air courtyards and two public plazas.
As the functions vary from local and regional administration to research and educational facilities (including hairdressing school, cooking school, laboratories and classrooms), the team of architects focused on creating a variety of spaces to suite each need. However the consistent use of a simple material palette – namely glass and grey stone – ensures a clean aesthetic that is maintained throughout. This is aided by the use of clean volumes and minimalist, large polished aluminium window frames.
Everywhere, composition and choice of materials play a key role. ‘Through its solid materiality, CMA aims to both articulate, absorb and reflect the surrounding landscape while at the same time standing out as a new iconic element, an inhabited landscape dedicated to the public sphere’, say the architects. §