The project was conceived as a contemporary home for the local municipality of Plaine Commune's media library, a place that while not open to the public, would provide a safe home for the digital archive and at the same time offer an exciting architectural addition for the area. The structure, which sits next to a leafy park, was designed to include modern facilities and offer a high quality work environment for its employees.
The architect's response was to create a functional building that doesn't compromise on aesthetics, and fits comfortably into the vibrant neighbourhood that includes the famous circus arts school Academie Fratellini. 'Our goal was for this to be an icon, a signal in the city,' say the architects.
A natural larch and black rain screen fabric façade protects an interior that spreads across three levels. The façade's timber plank arrangement creates large openings in selected areas that allow plenty of sunlight in and also offer glimpses of the leafy surroundings.
On the ground floor, a reception area directs the visitor to the various parts of the building through a vertical circulation core. Most of the building's services are also housed on this level, including a spacious garage for the archive's mobile libraries.
The light-filled first floor hosts the bulk of the collection areas, while management and administration offices are situated on the top level, around a central patio that encourages social interaction as well as providing space for relaxation. A green roof at the top and a planted terrace on the first floor may not be accessible to the employees but are beautifully in keeping with the area's green character and the park across the street.