Office / Architect
Ibos & Vitart / Myrto Vitart, Jean-Marc Ibos
Portal glass/metal constructions (facades) , Groupement Eiffage construction Alsace, Spie Batignolle est, Forclum, Spie. , MB&co , Casso & cie , Peutz et associés , MB&co , Inex ingénierie , Inex ingénierie , VP Green , Stéphane Bara (facades+furniture), Claudia Trovati (building)
Strasbourg / France
The river landscape demands to be understood horizontally. Everything here bends to the logic of the river: the linearity of the quays, the stretch of the jetty, the alignment of the trees. Down to the buildings themselves, which line up from one end of the jetty to the other, perfectly regular in their continuity on a parallel to the quays, vertically punctuated at their ends – like prows – by their silos.
The beauty of the place lies in this harmony.
On this long tongue of land surrounded by water, it is not so much the buildings that define the space as the relation between the buildings; the rhythmical and rigorous succession of masses and voids, the play of horizontals and verticals, the axiality, the strict alignment with the quays.

The conversion of the Seegmuller warehouse into a library, because it entails a doubling of the available surface area, threatens the fragile balance of the place.
For this reason, the design fits into a global perspective.

The silo is kept as a vertical sign in the landscape marking the entrance to the site from the old town. The project retains the magnificent concrete structure of the hall behind it. The extension is a vertical and horizontal continuation, perfectly calibrated with the original structure.
The hall is then separated from its external brick facing. The light, as it enters the space, emphasises the beauty of the pyramidal pillar.
The facade is displaced outwards, in continuity with that of the extension. The original volume is incorporated into the extension. The place achieves its unity.
The layout grid is based on the original hall.
The floors of the extension carry on from the existing floors, giving the library wide, free cross-surfaces. The transparency of the facades supplies the necessary light, dividing the landscape horizontally and linking the two arms of the canal together. Voids on the edge of the building expand the volumes vertically.
The hall stretches across the whole of the ground floor, from quay to quay.
The silo is empty through its entire height. The stratification of functions can be identified immediately on entry.

Like tags invading the disused hall, the signage now guides the visitor to the upper floors. A long red ribbon on the building itself connects the separate platforms of the public space.
In an industrial idiom pipes and fittings are left visible. Their tracery thus contributes to the linearity of the site.

As night falls, the internal spaces that captured the landscape in daylight, gradually expand outwards. On the Seegmuller jetty, the Malraux Library glows like a symbol.

Sustainable aspects:
Converting a warehouse into a library entails transforming the existing facades to allow natural light to bathe large areas.
The system for controlling heat gain and loss consists of an active double glazed skin, with computer-controlled airflows. A retractable blind between the two skins adjusts the intensity of the light at different levels.
The building is cooled partly by pumping cold underground water into the floors and pre-cooling the air centrally.

01 North-west elevation_©G.FESSY
02 View from the silo towards reading rooms_©G.FESSY
03 Ground floor lobby_©G.FESSY
04 Ground floor lobby_©G.FESSY
05 Third level-world and society section-south side_©P.RUAULT
06 South elevation at night_©G.FESSY
07 Ground floor level_©JM.IBOS M.VITART
08 Longitudinal section_©JM.IBOS M.VITART