With a sinuous, meandering form that blurs the line between interior and exterior, the new Media Library in Thionville, France, is a unique public space. Dominique Coulon & Associates designed the building by combining irregular, typically independent systems, creating tension in the space and in how it is read.
The building aims to promote a new kind of media library – one that allows members of the public to create and curate their own experiences. It offers a variety of activities and spaces that blend into each other, including music studios, a café and restaurant, and exhibition areas.
The façade resembles an opaque ribbon that rises and falls to conceal or reveal the building’s interior. At the point closest to the street, the ribbon reaches ground level, then rises up again at points that sit further back on the plot. This construction not only plays with the idea of interior and exterior space, but also brings natural light all the way into the heart of the project, where it’s most needed. Taken as a whole, the project questions the physical and psychological limits of what constitutes public space and follows a design that eludes the Euclidean interpretation of built space.
A garden ramp offers another connection to the outside, leading upwards to a summer bar that serves as a culmination of the architectural promenade. In addition, the presence of multiple routes offers constantly renewed viewpoints. The “bubbles” within the building contain specific parts of the library, such as a storytelling area, language laboratories, places for playing video games, and a plastic arts room.
Lead photo by Eugeni Pons