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Cult workshop: L'Atelier by AAVP Architecture.

Photos: Luc Boegly.

The ever evolving notion of the library as place combining a range of cultural activities, has found another expression in the L'Atelier. A cultural workshop designed by AAVP Architecture, in the town of Gournay-en-Bray, France.

Built on the site of an old factory, the project has sought to reconcile a number of existing buildings, with new structures and landscape. The composition also incorporates views and street frontage into a cohesive whole. It was a formidable task, elegantly executed.

The facility incorporates a music and dance school with a media library and was the winner of a design competition.

In terms of accommodating the material context, it takes a dark slate as the base position from which a rich language is developed. This material contrasts nicely with the local stone, brick, and render of the existing buildings, as well as other new materials such as copper. It also provides a neutral backdrop for the landscape. The slate is detailed in a minimal, modern way as a wall and roof cladding, yet is not totally removed from the traditional way this material might be used.

Internally, the architect has developed the spaces as a “rhizome”. By this perhaps he means that spaces push out from the entrance / expo space through the other parts of the buildings. Perhaps not. Interpretation is often difficult when architects meddle with concepts of philosophy.

Christopher C. Hill.


Gratitude to AECafe.

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