The medieval city of Provins was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001. The police station sits on a site that joins the historic center to a residential neighborhood, so Ameller, Dubois & Associes had the task of designing a complex that did not disrupt the architectural flow between the historic and private homes, while respecting the heritage of the site. Originally, the site marked the gate to the walled city of Provins, so the architects took that as inspiration to create a police station that could also function as a gateway to the city.
The structure rises from a low stone wall, made from small locally sourced white cobblestones – this element is evocative of the walled cities of Medieval times. The wall houses the ground floor of the station and the parking lot, and offers a barrier of protection to the building behind it.
The second and third floors are encased with a glass curtain on the front façade that floods the modular offices with light. They glass is lined with copper louvers, which gently filter the light while reducing solar gain. Three large sections capped with large windows jut out, directing sunlight into the interior.
The opposite façade is clad in thick concrete, which covers the more private areas of the police station – the interrogation rooms and holding cells. An interior patio fills the inside with more light and fresh air while maintaining privacy.
The innovative police station has a great set of architectural elements and green features that set it apart while allowing it to blend in with the rich history of Provins.