OMA presents its winning design for a library with an emphasis on interface.
CAEN (FR) - Having as of late been involved in a number of large projects involving monumental structures and urban planning initiatives, the Rotterdam-based Office for Metropolitan Architecture once more enters the realm of the small public building with its competition-winning proposal for a new library in France. Attentive to local climactic conditions, the design gives a nod to sustainability while at the same time providing for functional integration of the different disciplines the structure will house.
Its primary element is two intersecting and largely transparent reading rooms, a design aspect that intends to maximize exchange between human sciences, science and technology, literature, and the arts, not to mention the closely associated park and waterfront areas. The expansive, light-giving openings in the volume's four distinct wings seem to portray this future edifice of knowledge not as a hermetic place of bookish toiling, but instead as a further expression of the metaphor of interconnectivity found within, moving to include the world without as well. (Dutton R. Hauhart)
OMA has won the competition for a major new library, the Bibliothèque Multimédia à Vocation Régionale (BMVR), in Caen, France. The 12,000m2 building will be the focal point of new development in Caen. Surpassing five submissions by internationally renowned competitors, the project, led by OMA associate-in-charge Clément Blanchet, will be OMA's first cultural building in France.
The new library, located at the tip of Caen's peninsula, includes four protruding wings that point towards four of the city's landmarks: the abbeys Abbaye-aux-Dames in the north and Abbaye-aux-Hommes in the east; the central train station to the south; and the site of proposed future developments in the west.
The library consists of two intersecting reading rooms, which encourage maximum interface between the programmed disciplines: human sciences, science and technology, literature, and the arts. OMA's Blanchet commented: 'Instead of having four distinct areas linked by bridges, space is structured along two intersecting axes, creating a space of confluence for both knowledge and people.'
In the exterior spaces created by these intersecting reading rooms, the library interacts with its surroundings, opening up to a park, pedestrian pathway and waterfront plaza. Large windows span the height of the reading room and provide natural light. With dynamic views onto Caen and a simultaneous internal transparency, the building is an observatory of knowledge. It encourages the contemplation of the urban or cultural landscape, even as it serves the library's traditional role as a space for reading, studying, and interacting with other users.
Philippe Duron, President Communauté d'agglomération Caen la Mer commented: 'To build a library today is to believe in the future of our society, to acknowledge a desire to give everyone the tools to participate in our information age. For Caen and its surrounding region, the library makes physical, embodies, this desire. The library symbolizes both the international ambition of urban development and gives focus to the major renaissance of the peninsula. The architectural quality and intellectual influence of the BMVR will make it a flagship of its region.'
The design's sustainable approach responds to local climactic conditions to ensure energy efficiency. Shallow floor plans maximize available natural light, creating the ideal reading environment crucial to a library. With the BMVR in Caen, OMA continues its extensive experience designing and building libraries.
Saturday | 9 October | 2010 | France | OMA