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Arthur Rimbaud Media Library and Cultural Centre, Antony, France 
Wednesday 29 Jun 2011
 
Bright and Light 
 
Dacbert Cochet Chapellier 
 
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French architects build media library and cultural centre using coloured glass 

The Arthur Rimbaud Media Library and Cultural Centre was finished in October 2010. The building was constructed in the context of the city of Anthony's urban renewal program. The city launched a public competition for the construction of a media library at Place des Baconnets with the aim of opening up the secluded Noyer Doré neighbourhood as well as offering cultural activities to the residents of this disadvantaged neighbourhood.

The construction of the media library would be a symbol of the revival of the area. Dacbert Cochet Chapellier Architectes response is a formally simplistic and easily identifiable building which contrasts, in both architecture and ambiance, with the surrounding buildings. They proposed a simple and bright architectural style designed to clearly convey the nature of the media library as a contemporary public facility, and a space of cultural circulation and recreation with its amenities open to the public.

The central and strategic location of the land, with its proximity to the train station and the shopping centre, would naturally promote the use of the facilities, but the small size of the site was restrictive. In order to ensure maximum floor space, they designed a slight cantilever to the first floor, using transparent facades of coloured glass in various sizes creating a dynamic appearance, making the building seem aerial and bright, straightforwardly presenting the contents of the building to passers-by, all this creating an important symbol for the neighbourhood. The north-facing facade of the media library is the largest, making its aspect ideal.

The entry of natural light is controlled by each façade: the south facade is completely blind, the north, west and east facades are treated as double façades on the first floor. The double skin acts as a buffer to control the natural evacuation of heat and reducing solar exposure to the interior glass walls. This also ensures excellent acoustics relative to external noise, which was a major consideration for the project mainly due to the noise of traffic at the intersection as well as that of passing trains.

Dacbert Cochet Chapellier Architectes gave much attention to the roof of the media library which was treated as a fifth facade, considering its position and situation relative to the 14-floor existing residential building and the many direct views from this building. The option of a green roof also provides benefits in terms of the environment, energy conservation and reduced maintenance.

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