Library for the City of Colomiers, France by Rudy Ricciotti Architects

French architect Rudy Ricciotti was commissioned to design a 5,830-square-meter complex for the city of Colomiers, France. This building known as the White Pavilion features an undulating perforated envelope made in white concrete. It features a library and a contemporary art center on four levels.
Library, Colomiers, France © Rudy Ricciotti

First the site. Surrounded by streets, the plot with its singular morphology had many constraints which has a strong impact on the articulation of this complex.
Library under construction © Rudy Ricciotti
> The wall's thickness is only 25 centimeters. Material is
self-consolidating concrete capable of high resistance.

While narrow, Ricciotti used the maximum capacity of the plot to implant the building. As a result, the envelope is curved like wave — except the fourth facade — to adapt to its plot limit.
Oblong opening on outer wall © Rudy Ricciotti
> Openings have two type of form: oblong and rectangular. Their size depends on
the form and their arrangement on the facade. These cutouts reinforce the unique character of this building.

As the exterior walls' wavy form makes the building easily recognisable, the Library acts as a landmark for the city. The building measures a total of 150 meters long, 12,87 meters tall with a thickness of 25 centimeters.

Facade © Rudy Ricciotti

Oblong and rectangular cutouts are found in three of the four outer walls. Their size and form depend on their random arrangement on the walls. These perforated walls remind Ricciotti's rectangular Maison de l'Emploi for the city of Saint-Etienne. Like the Library, this white concrete building's outer walls' openings have an oblong form.
Maison de l'Emploi, Saint-Etienne, France, © Rudy Riciotti

According to the French website, Le Moniteur, the library is the result of technical challenges, and the mix of innovative construction systems — aesthetics, technicity, and originality.

Fourth facade © Rudy Ricciotti

As required in the master plan, Rudy Ricciotti opted for self-consolidating concrete for the envelope. The fourth facade in glass makes the building really visible, and maximizes light coming in and views going out. This glass facade will be equipped with brise soleil to protect the inner spaces from overheating in warm summers.
Library for the city of Colomiers — Vertical vegetated wall © Rudy Ricciotti
> The glass facade will shift into a green wall that will act as an insolation and
energy-saving system for the building.

It is announced that the glass façade will be changed into a biofacade, precisely, a green facade in the near future. This green wall will not only make this building more sustainable but also provide its landmark for the city.
Model © Rudy Ricciotti
> One characteristics of this building is its rounded exterior walls,
with no angles.

As Rudy Ricciotti says, the material — a self-cleaning self-consolidating concrete, precisely Agilia — is known to provide high resistance to constraints.
Construction of one part of the wavelike walls
> Two types of cutout sections: oblong and rectangular with three
Construction of one element of the exterior walls
> Due to its surrounded environment, the outer walls have been divided into four parts:
three parts clad in self-consolidating concrete; one clad in glass.
The three walls are characterized by their wavy form while
the fouth one is a flat glass wall that will be shift into an active
living wall.
The three ribbon-like walls are one of the most prominent elements of this project.

Agilia is known to be a self-consolidating concrete characterized by its responsive behavior to stress, and as reducing construction cost and time. As required, this wavelike envelope is smooth and rough.
Construction of the building.
Aerial view of the construction of the library
> Rudy Ricciotti opted for the use of an innovative technique called
cast-using framework for the construction of the entire building including its three
ribbon-like facade and its glass facade.
The building construction required about 530 cubic meters of concrete.

The exterior walls required a complex cast-using framework. They have been divided into four elements separated by an expansion joint: three wavelike walls; and one glass and green wall. The use of expansion joint permits to withstand external pressures such as warming and cooling through seasonal variations.
Construction of the outer walls

The inner spaces depend on the building's surrounded environment and the morphology of the plot. The library part is organized around a central atrium in order to facilitate diffusion of natural light within the building.

Interior spaces.
> The organisation of the interior spaces depends on the surrounding
of the library. Moreover, the combination of the cutout sections and the
glass outer facade provides best quality of natural
light inside the building.

Building Facts
Programme: Library for the City of Colomiers, France
Architects: Rudy Ricciotti Architects
Collaborators: Agence Arquo, Agence Blamm-Lacaze;
BET: OTH Sud-Ouest
Acoustic: Gamba Acoustique
Client: City of Colomiers
Surface: 5,830 sqm
Year of completion: 2011

Images originally appeared for most of them on Architectes-Toulouse and Le Moniteur

Source: Architectes-Toulouse, LaFarge, Le Moniteur

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