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.
Media Library and University Residence in Aix-en-Provence, France by ANMA
March 22nd, 2018 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: ANMA
This operation, which forms part of the Mirabeau Campus Plan, describes three complementary university programs – a media library, a restaurant, and a residence- that must be linked, but each has their own identity and operational autonomy. This multiple programming plays, simultaneously, with the imbrication and the distinction with regard to the existing building and its specific image.
While the students’ accommodation is located in an independent construction, the media library and the restaurant are within a hybrid building. The University Restaurant fits within the two first levels of the existing building which has been rehabilitated in concrete, carefully integrated with its constructive reality.
The restaurant extends into an extension built on the east side. The restaurant rooms are developed around a central courtyard area which combines services and circulation.
The media library takes up a new space, while being anchored in the existing building. However, the project maintains the east/south-east angle, with its original massive presence. It is a singular volume in which its taut curves contrast deliberately with the severe architecture of the existing building. Its façade, entirely glazed, is protected with lightweight concrete parasol slats. Some of the outer slats extend into the inner space as part of furniture elements such as benches, shelves, desks, etc. The ochre colouring of the underside of the slats highlights the plasticity of the curves and provides the structures with a contemporary identity
The project was conceived to use the Provençal light. For the Media Library, the external mechanism of slats with varying depths (according to their orientation) assures a diffuse light throughout the year. The large spaces of the building are marked out with wide courtyards. One of them crosses the existing building on the first level in order to naturally illuminate the University Restaurant. The second courtyard lights up the path between the two buildings. The third one, glazed all the way, is located above the monumental staircase, providing the ground floor reception with natural light.