Frédéric Borel

Institut de Développement Local, Agen, 2001

Between 1997 and 2001, Frédéric Borel designed a group of two buildings in Agen for the Université Michel Serres. The first building houses the classrooms and the library (1997-1999). It is a monolithic structure laid out horizontally and resembling a stage set from which the complex mass of the second building, the Institut de Développement Local (2000-2001), breaks away. This compact, solid and opaque building reuses and accentuates the formal system developed by the architect for the Immeuble de logements PLI (apartment building, 1993-1999, Paris). Looking like a crumpled ball of paper, it is the unlikely encounter between the machine-like visions of Lebbeus Woods, cubist collage and the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber. Here, the architecture plays with its crystalline appearance. The mass of the Institut seems to emerge from a formal process of “deconstruction,” the product of a reticulated and multidimensional assemblage of vectors. In fact, the asymmetrical complexity of the building’s exterior conceals an orthogonal interior plan which is the perfect extension of the Université’s plan, as can be seen this time from the outside.

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