Louise Michel library, Paris | 2002-10

construction of a youth library, children’s zone and premises of an Educational Affairs Office (Direction des Affaires Scolaires/DASCO)
client City of Paris; DAC/DASCO; SLA20
architects and engineers TERRENEUVE architects, representative, project architect: Tina Sickert; C&E, D.O. structure; DJ Amo, construction economist; Cap Ingelec, D.O. fluids
surface 850 m² net area
work costs € 1,6M BT
timeline delivery 2010
photos © Daniel Rousselot

Located at the edge of the Réunion neighbourhood – an urban development zone undergoing a complete transformation in which the traces of its urban fabric, characterised by its “strips” of land and short alleyways, are gradually disappearing – the Louise Michel library is a new patch in the chaotic urban fabric. Here, unimposing apartment blocks stand alongside high-rise towers set back from the street, as well as a number of open spaces such as the municipal sports field and private gardens.
The library stands out from neighbouring buildings as it is set back from the residential blocks next to it and due to the presence of a garden at the far end beside the public baths. The façade is broken into several planes, giving it an unexpected density and verticality that fits evenly into the urban fabric of the Réunion neighbourhood. This design is a nod to the characteristic architecture of this street and its plots in strips. The entrances to the facilities (a library and an administrative office for local schools) are defined by two aligned volumes, suggesting an independent building for each. The connecting volume on the first floor provides transparency, giving an indication of the depth of the site.