Du Besset - Lyon

Médiathèque, Orléans, 1994

The Orleans Médiathèque (Media Centre) stands at the crossroads of several thoroughfares which are heterogeneous, both in their layout, their configuration, and their constructions, and achieves the paradox of appearing to be in continuity with its environment. The building is a playful one with its hierarchy-free inner spaces, which each have their own colour and texture. It is also noteworthy for its façade which shows an undulating succession of metal folds, punctuated by several glass saliences “which present the exterior from the different interior spaces” (D. Lyon). Each space forms a room which dovetails with the others, in a dynamic relationship. The form is the outcome of the assemblage of these different boxes. The principle of intellectual development, which is the goal of the media centre, corresponds with the principle of architectural development. Perception is not unambiguous; the saliences lend the whole its constantly moving dimension. In the centre, an orange staircase is at once a well of natural light, coming from above, and the generator of a dazzling artificial light which almost makes visitors waver. The both natural and artificial light spreads into this in-between area. Within this tactile environment, open to the senses, the different materials (felt, canvas, plastic, etc.) cover walls and furniture like a second skin, until they merge in places into one and the same object of almost undifferentiated perception. On the first floor, the glass extension with its metal latticework catches visitors in a panoramic reading of the city, offering a unique viewpoint over the cathedral and the historic centre. Everything is done to relax and focus the reader’s eye, but also reminding him of the outside world in all its diversity.

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