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.
Rigot Stalars in Dunkirk, France by Coldefy&Associés Architects Urban planners
January 3rd, 2018 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Coldefy&Associés Architects Urban planners
The project is located within a historic industrial building along the railroad tracks at the entrance to the city of Dunkirk, just a stone’s throw from the TGV station. It lies within the framework of a strategic urban zone in full transformation. Though left in disrepair, the building originally housed a jute mill founded in 1928.
The complex was rehabilitated to house what we call a “tiers-lieu”: spaces dedicated for co-working with conference rooms, cafeteria and a mini-nursery. These four entities needed one shared entry but the ability to close independently.
The principal objective was to preserve the major architectural qualities of the building, orchestrating its programmatic mutation and take into consideration the new forecourt in front of the building, a true village plaza. The water garden adjoining the plaza also had an impact on the design as it is accessed by the same space and thus visible through the full height glazing surrounding the cafeteria.
In order to highlight the strength of the building, the reconversion completely preserves the existing building volumes and organizes two new programmatic entities at its base: the cafeteria and the nursery.
Grafting onto the existing, the extension opens the building up to the city through the large cafeteria windows and extending the hardscape plaza to connect with the new urban park. These constructions on ground level avoid hiding the old mill but rather contribute to highlighting its attributes and verticality.
Within the original building, the juxtaposition of existing raw elements with the new pure interventions creates an interesting contrast. The organization of the original plan is completely preserved: the elevator is able to fit within the niche of the former lift, and the original stairs are kept intact, allowing the same surface area per level as in its manufacturing days.
In order to fit the entire program, two concrete floor plates were delicately inserted within the existing structure. This allowed the creation of a second and fourth level. The new apertures in the thick brick wall are created in the existing regularity of the façade, while the exterior metal staircase allows a transparency to the existing façade and its original ancient inscriptions.