PROJECT Media Library Saint-Paul
ARCHITECTS Peripheriques Architects
LOCATION St Paul, la Réunion, France
PHOTO Luc Boegly
The urban planning in which the Saint-Paul’s media centre is included strongly answers the desire to express a new centrality for the city. In this context, the public facility that Peripheriques Architects designed marks the territory by its shape and its readability, from the Tamarins road to the broader landscape. The completion of a downtown media centre allows the structuring of the “gateway” area and expresses an urban renewal expected for this district which until now was considered to be on the fringe of the city.
The urban settlement of this public facility answers the need for a strong sense of identity for this public facility on the island. This media centre has to become a cultural landmark, through information and training, as well as a visual one through its architecture.
Building a public construction, in addition to its function, is to settle a building in a context.
Here in Saint-Paul, even if its richness is the extension from the heights of the mountain to the seaside, the district also has to be enhanced.
The Saint-Paul’s media centre unfolds on six levels to take advantage of this quality, enhancing the scenery. It expresses the entrance to the city by a strong urban and architectural act.
Peripheriques Architects designed a 34m side cube that includes a solid project. Its facades are inspired by the list of contents, represented in classic and modern medias: books that are trimmed or in folio pages, magazines or stacks of discs, sedimentation of maps, pile of pictures, stratification of layers of a hard drive.
All these accumulations that conceal data are holding mysteries that are expected to be discovered. This vocabulary of a strong and surprising aesthetic enhances the notion of a visual cue and reveals the singularity of the “book” object: the facade effect is a stack of irregular sheets.
These are actually slight wavy louvers, window blades that vibrate depending on the time of day, soaking up sun shades of colours.
In this book some pages are open like “eyes” to create chapters that structure the building: the lobby of the media centre, the garden and several terraces spread over the top levels mould some lookouts on the landscape of the Indian Ocean.
As with book illustrations, the ceilings of the levels lead to a reading of pictures by Michal Batory about different medias and Reunion’s heritage. Texts, pictures and sketches combine to generate a cultural atmosphere. Interior spaces are warm, in a uniform white which enhances the colourful pictures of the ceiling. The free levels open over 270° to the landscape, bathed in light and traversed by a slight natural breeze coming from the louvres’ adjustable blades which optimize the thermal comfort of the users. Nature penetrates the building, erasing the limits between inside and outside, to connect the built environment and the landscape. It generates amazing atmospheres between vegetal and mineral.
The garden is part of this organic ornament, surrounding the building and slipping into the interior spaces. The tall trees offer a smooth and protective shade: pine trees, Royal poincianas and tamarinds will soon provide a qualitative canopy. On the ground, some planted islets are limited by benches.
This public space invites you to take a break and place the media centre in the context of a pleasant journey in the district.
FOR 20 YEARS, PERIPHERIQUES MARIN + TROTTIN ARCHITECTS HAVE BEEN INSCRIBING THE PRACTICE OF THEIR PROFESSION IN A POOL AND COLLECTIVE REGISTER AND A WILLINGNESS TO INVITE OTHER ARCHITECTS FOR SPECIFIC OR MORE DURABLE COLLABORATIONS, AND FOR REALIZING JOINT PROJECTS. A TRADEMARK/AN ATTITUDE: THE ANTI-EGO.
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