To the delight of those living nearby, the L'Arbrisseau Neighborhood Center was completed in June 2011 in a suburb of Lille, France. Spiraling up four stories, the community center provides space for all ages in the form of a daycare center, recreation rooms, multipurpose rooms, classrooms, and a library. Aluminum panels cover the windows, while a central atrium pull in lots of daylight. Colboc Franzen & Associates designed L'Arbrisseau Neighborhood Center for a high degree of energy efficiency with a super-tight insulated envelope, high-performance windows and energy systems, and a rooftop photovoltaic system.
Multi-faceted for many purposes, the community center provides flexible space for a wide range of ages. The ground floor holds a mother and child center and reception areas, the first floor has a day center geared towards 6-12 year olds, the second floor provides space for teenagers and part of the library, while the third floor has space for adults, offices and the rest of the library. Each floor spirals up and around the building, offering views of both the floor below and the floor above to create a connection between the ages. The central core serves as the main central circulation spine while acting as an atrium and light chimney that draws daylight into the center of the building. An exterior staircase provides access to all of the floors as well as the roof, for panoramic views of the neighborhood.
The center was built with a small footprint to maximize space for the surrounding garden, while rainwater is collected and used to irrigate the landscaping. The multi-faceted facade is clad in aluminum panels and high-performance windows that let in light while minimizing solar heat gain. Heavy insulation, tight walls, and the minimization of thermal breaks create a high-performance facade. A heat recovery system minimizes the use of district heating, and operable windows encourage ventilation in warmer months. Finally a photovoltaic system on the roof provides some of the building’s power. All in all, the center has a very low energy consumption and needs only 48.68 kWh/m2/year, which is less than half of what most buildings its size need.
Images © Paul Raftery