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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

The University Of Versailles Science Library in France by Badia Berger Architectes

 
March 19th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Badia Berger Architectes

SITE | the articulation of the building with its environment
The site, situated on the campus of the University of Versailles, falls within the historical district of the Château de Versailles which imposes, amongst many constraints, minimal building heights. The campus itself is a historical domain having been the property of the car manufacturing family Panhard. In the nineteen sixties, buildings on campus were built around the « historical centre », constituted by the Panhard pavilion and its gardens. Devoid of any particular character, these structures do not impart a strong identity to the campus.

Image Courtesy © David Boureau

  • Architects: Badia Berger Architectes
  • Project: The University Of Versailles Science Library
  • Location: Versailles, France
  • Photography: David Boureau
  • Software used: Drawn using Autocad and modeled with sketchup

Image Courtesy © David Boureau

The creation of the sporting grounds left recesses and embankments in the park’s natural terrain. Before the project’s intervention, the site was cut in half between the sloped park to the east and the vast sporting grounds to the west.
The University Library is set on this boundary, articulating the two spaces.

Image Courtesy © David Boureau

The building communicates between the two sides of the campus rather than forming a mass permanently cutting the site in two. It has no main façade. It unifies the multiple aspects of the site. From this central position, its multidirectional nature has been achieved by juxtaposing three volumes with four different directions (north, south, east, west), intersected by a series of voids, allowing abundant light to enter as well as creating transparencies between the park and the sporting grounds.

Image Courtesy © David Boureau

The three separate volumes express the three parts of the program: the entry hall, the reading rooms and internal spaces. The shape is an expression of our perception of the program and our response to the requirements of a low energy building, fully acknowledging lighting and thermal comfort as well as highlighting the site’s contrasts.

Image Courtesy © David Boureau

PROGRAM | fluidity and flexibility of the university library

Typologies such as university libraries are today subject to many questions related to the place of paper versus the internet. More and more students go to libraries, despite having computers, to seek optimum working conditions: space, quiet, silence, and help if needed. Today the library is no longer a place to store and preserve books, but a place to live. In these new hybrid libraries, open and modular floors are paramount to accommodate the on-going developments of our society.

Image Courtesy © David Boureau

The indoor layout of the University Library has been designed to be as clear as possible: the entry hall at an intermediate level dispersing, by means of a monumental staircase, to the two large reading rooms. Special attention has been put into making the reception area easily accessible and giving them a convivial atmosphere. The play on height changes throughout the structure can be perceived from the entry hall, allowing one to enjoy simultaneous views of different floor levels and displaying the flexible organisation of the library.

Image Courtesy © David Boureau

ARCHITECTURAL STATEMENT | an organic shell that reveals the inside

Clinging to the existing paths and slope, the building, like a ribbed-shell covering rough concrete, organises and structures the spaces and views. The inner skin amplifies the idea of an organic architecture, using the sheds to suspend the upper floor beam. The large trusses within the sheds suspend the upper reading room thus liberating the floor plan from any columns. The inside and outside thus communicate freely and the facades are a result of this relationship: they create an “indoor show” for visitors.

Image Courtesy © David Boureau

The east facade is completely open to the woodland and is naturally protected from the sun by a curtain of trees. Smooth and straight, it allows those who walk outside to discover alongside them the two reading floors as well as allowing people on the inside to benefit from the view of trees and plants that is offered to them.

Image Courtesy © David Boureau

In contrast, the west facade is structured by a series of closely-knit cells that become the form of the sheds on the roof, drawing in the light with a northern exposure, thus avoiding direct sunlight. The transparency of the façades and the openness of the floor plans allow slanted and distant views.

Image Courtesy © David Boureau

The north facade is pierced following the disposition of the study rooms. Lastly, the entrance on the south facade or Trombe Wall (named after the physicist who invented the principle) is formed by a darkly stained concrete wall in front of which is placed a glass screen.

Image Courtesy © David Boureau

The air circulating in the gap between the two layers is heated by the sun to help heat the building. Overheating risks are reduced by the shadow brought by the brise-soleil during the summer. Overall indoor ambiances are determined by natural light and visual framings on the surrounding landscape. The colour variations of the furniture (going from green to blue) are like reflections of the trees and sky outside, which vary depending on the light, also evoking the metal exterior cladding.

Image Courtesy © David Boureau

Image Courtesy © David Boureau 

Image Courtesy © David Boureau

Image Courtesy © David Boureau

Image courtesy Badia Berger Architectes

Image courtesy Badia Berger Architectes

Image courtesy Badia Berger Architectes

Image courtesy Badia Berger Architectes

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Categories: Autocad, SketchUp, University Building

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