May 2, 2011

Oloron Saint Marie Multimedia Center / Pascale Guédot + Michel Corajoud

Photo by Gaston Bergeret
Check out this beautiful restoration project by Pascale Guédot and Michel Corajoud which transforms an industrial factory into a Multimedia Center. Situated in Oloron Saint Marie, the site is part of a larger urban renewal project intended to reconnect the abandoned site to the center of the city and infuse a new spirit into the building while reclaiming the site’s natural setting.
More images and more about the project after the break.
Historically, the structure housed a textile factory which exploited the hydroelectric power produced by the rivers. However, gradually the factory fell into disrepair until two architecture competitions in 2005 and 2009 asked participants to develop the site’s future. The competitions, won by Pascale Guédot and Michel Corajoud, respectively, have breathed a new life into the structure while making it accessible to the public.
Photo by Gaston Bergeret
The new media center is built atop the factory’s original stone foundation, gracefully hovering over the original volume. This new volume contains reading rooms and administration offices while clad in a light transparent wooden lattice. The form’s dominant end glazing offers spectacular views of the river and the promenade while the light lattice work allows light to penetrate the interiors.
Photo by Gaston Bergeret
The interior of the media center boasts a sleek and sophisticated atmosphere.  “The entrance to the main reading room is an extension of the portico, while at the heart of the building, an atrium generates a visual connection between the youth area in the basement and the primary space for other users. This sense of connection – an effect accentuated by the peripheral location of the weight bearing structures – offers an instant spatial grasp of the building. The mixed texture – concrete infrastructure and steel newels and frames for the superstructure – contributes to the creation of a unitary volume, where shelves and reading spaces are freely arranged.”
Photo by Gaston Bergeret
In addition to the carefully articulate volume, a new public promenade has been designed to follow the line of the river allowing pedestrians to Michel Corajoud’s green terraced landscape.

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The design is the perfect fusion between existing and contemporary, landscape and built. The volume exploits the site’s natural setting allowing the users to, once again, appreciate the site’s beauty.

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