Media library in Anzin, by Dominique Coulon & associés

Anzin is the town that inspired Emile Zola’s novel ‘Germinal’. The town’s development has been dependent on the mining industry; many of its houses are in a very dark-coloured brick. 

This is a post-industrial landscape attempting to achieve a mutation, in which the media library appears to be out of synch with its surroundings. Despite being accessible by the new tram route and near the town hall, the building gives the impression of being a solitary object in the landscape. 

The sparkling white of the facade stands out from its surroundings, and the building’s great sails add to its enigmatic character. 

The interior of the building is extremely clear. The administrative offices and the auditorium are on the ground floor, while the main reading room is on the first floor. Arranged in this way, the reading room is open on four sides, and our work on the section drawings allowed us to bring natural light into the heart of the building. 

The complex concrete structure makes it possible to free the entire floor of upright supports: the space is fluid and unencumbered. The section is based on the principle of the single and double heights that define the space and create a number of very different places – the space is not monotonous. Natural light is captured by the saw-tooth roofing. Rainwater collects on the roof terraces, and its iridescence is reflected into the building. It is as if the light were animated – alive, and in motion. 

The oblique volumes are suspended in the space: they float separate from the floorplan. The overlap of the various systems leads to a complex reading of the space, which is further enhanced by the addition of natural light.

By Dominique Coulon & associés

Visit Dominique Coulon & associés website