Barcode Architects
Bureau for Architecture
and Contemporary Design

CAEN LIBRARY

Barcode Architects_Caen library (5) LIGHTER_

BIBLIOTHÉQUE ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE

In collaboration with OMA.

The Bibliothèque Alexis de Tocqueville is the new public library for the metropolitan region of Caen la Mer in Normandy, France. Located at the Bassin Saint-Pierre at the intersection of the city’s historic core and the new eastern redevelopment area La Grande Mosaic, the 12.500m² multimedia library is a prominent new public centre for Caen.

Location

Caen la Mer, France

Client

Caen la Mer | OMA

Year

2010-2017

Status

Completed

Size

12.500m²

Category

Library

Collaborators

IOSIS, Egis Batiments (structure), IOSIS (MEP services), Elioth (sustainability), IOSIS (fire safety), Level Acoustics, Eindhoven, RHDHV (acoustics), dUCKS Scéno (scenography)

Copyright images:
Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti, Courtesy of OMA
Philippe Ruault, Courtesy of OMA

Team
Black arrow to the bottom Black arrow to the top

Dirk Peters, Clément Périssé, Jos Reinders, Cristina Ampazidou, Joshua Boyd, Nils Christa, Simon de Jong, Marc Dahmen, Noemie Laviolle

OMA:
Rem Koolhaas, Clément Blanchet

The library’s cross-shaped floorplan references important urban landmarks, pointing to the two historic abbeys, to the train station, and to the new urban development in the south. The main public interior space is a vast panoramic reading room on the first floor. Here, the cityscape of Caen enters the world of books and digital media. Custom-engineered load-bearing glass façade panels maximize openness and transparency. The completely column-free space allows the four different sectors -- human sciences, science and technology, literature, and the arts -- to be optimally connected.

The library is equipped to redefine public reading. It has a large variety of work and reading spaces as well as 120,000 documents. Along with the physical collection, a digital extension is integrated into the bookshelves. The building is also flexible in function, allowing the ground floor exhibition space, auditorium and restaurant to host – or be rented for – various events, even after the library closes.

With this innovative concept
we have emphasized on a transforming typology of the future library as modern, digital and more contemporary public institution.
The classical reading room
as introvert silent place is inverted and is literally translated into an outspoken ‘Urban Connector’; an overwelming inviting public space where people read, meet and exchange their latest ideas and knowledge.