Location: Nord Pas-de-Calais, France
Type: Cultural – Public
Areas: 7186 m²
Architects: Brenac & Gonzalez and Associates
Located at Lille’s Porte de Valencienne, this big linear building works as a micro-urban interior with its hall, passages, lanes, terraces, patios and gardens. All of these zones enhance the quality of use. The building will house a civil servants training center, containing both classrooms and lecture halls and a big administrative sector.
The building stands on a very elongated stretch of land in the Euralille 2 industrial park that extends over slightly more than 54 acres in Sud de Lille Grand Palais,an extension of Euralille 1.
Its general volume is mildly « hump-backed » for it has to meet several urban situations. At its tallest on the west side (6 stories) it increases its visibility and symbolic value as a building. Its specific height visually thrusts it onto the boulevard while its architecture adds to constituting its frontal view.
A garden/forecourt naturally extends the public space while distancing the main entrance and hall, marked by a canopy that serves as a reception area and protects from bad weather.
The building’s considerable length also facilitates its turning to the street behind. It then drops to three floors in order to respect the future buildings to be built opposite on a neighboring site. Then it rises again to four floors at the northeast end and marries the corner created by a side street.
The building is encased in a continuous single material composed of undulating metal. This same material is used for exterior cladding, covering the interior walls of the big concourse and as a hung ceiling.
This arrangement thus offers a completely unified reading of a sculpted mass that is visible both night and day. This apparently opaque mass alternates fullness and emptiness. The metal is sensitive matter, reactive to variations of light. It plays perfectly well with the very particular light of northern France, in particular its well-known silvery skies. The use of metal is also a reminder of the plastic selected for the already-existing neighboring building which facilitates the integration of the new building into the overall esthetic environment.