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Loci Anima
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Interview

Interview — © Loci Anima
Interview — © Loci Anima
Interview — © Loci Anima

Françoise Raynaud, foun­der of loci anima archi­tec­ture : The inter­con­nec­ted mobile per­son of today needs mixed spaces, what we call third spaces”.”

How does one go about crea­ting an Alpha media library when there has been such a radi­cal shift towards the use of vir­tual media?

Today, as archi­tects, it is vital for us to ini­tiate a poo­ling of spaces. This tran­si­tion has already been ini­tia­ted by libra­ries, see­king to keep pace with the inter­con­nec­ted world we live in today. Our pro­ject reco­gnises this change – we wan­ted to make the Angoulême media library a real, living space that was open to the world, wel­co­ming, acces­sible, a space that would encou­rage exchanges and erase social and cultu­ral dif­fe­rences in the heart of the com­mu­nity. A spe­cial and unique place but a place that is also fami­liar, where the people of Greater Angoulême will be able deve­lop their cultu­ral and com­mu­nity mis­sion through ambi­tious cultu­ral and social pro­jects.

You’ve made the Alpha media library a living space where people can get toge­ther and exchange ideas. Isn’t this a break with tra­di­tio­nal archi­tec­ture for libra­ries, which attempts to create a place of silence? 

The inter­con­nec­ted mobile per­son of today needs mixed spaces, what we call third spaces”. Spaces other than the home or the work­place where people can enter into com­mu­ni­ca­tion with others to share new prac­tices and achieve the fee­ling of belon­ging to a group. By exten­ding its role, redu­cing the divide bet­ween the public and the pri­vate space, the media library is able to draw in a broad spec­trum of people from all social back­grounds, without dis­tin­gui­shing bet­ween them on the grounds of age and gen­der. The Alpha media library attracts without overw­hel­ming, intrigues but reas­sures and makes people want to come in. It is fami­liar and wel­co­ming. It is desi­gned as a space that people can pass through, with easy, fluid access and without constraint. In this era of mobi­lity, wor­king to achieve the shift in our rela­tion­ships with spaces, we have pro­vi­ded a space of exchanges and sin­gu­lar expe­riences, a place of awa­ke­ning and cele­bra­tion of the five senses, a place where nature is at the heart of the buil­ding and where the inter­ior design creates the most ideal space for unique sen­so­rial expe­riences.

You refer to the Alpha media library as an urban sea­mark”. What do you mean by that? 

It is true that in order to ful­fil its new mis­sion, the Alpha media library departs from the typo­lo­gi­cal and mor­pho­lo­gi­cal arche­types of public cultu­ral buil­dings, which remain temples to know­ledge”, and which many find too daun­ting to enter. The media library isn’t a buil­ding; it is effec­ti­vely a connec­ted urban sea­mark” – a stack of inha­bi­ted pas­sa­ge­ways and bridges, which link up with each other again and again, phy­si­cally and visually connec­ting the sur­roun­ding spaces and land­scapes. The buil­ding is actually made up of five evol­ving worlds” that are iden­ti­fiable by the colour-mate­rial of the pla­nets that are asso­cia­ted with them. So, the world of crea­ting” is anthra­cite in refe­rence to Saturn and to lead. The world of unders­tan­ding” recalls the moon and sil­ver. The world of ima­gi­ning” is repre­sen­ted by Jupiter and bronze. The sun and gold are to be found in the world from one world to ano­ther”. Finally, the worlds’ manu­fac­tu­rer” is red cop­per, paying homage to Mars. 

Nature is a theme that is very impor­tant to you. Within a space like this one, which is ultra-connec­ted, how have you approa­ched the rela­tion­ship bet­ween nature and the buil­ding?

We pro­vide some­thing that is com­ple­men­tary and dif­ferent, which over and above the real per­for­mances that are intrin­sic to the pro­ject vis-à-vis envi­ron­men­tal aspects, adds a sym­bo­lic and sen­si­tive dimen­sion. The urban land­scape is increa­sin­gly cut off from nature but it finds in the ele­ments of life and nature a rich source of dreams and plea­sure. Sunshine, air, plant life and metal are all mate­rials used in the construc­tion of the pro­ject. With natu­ral ven­ti­la­tion, it is desi­gned enti­rely to take advan­tage of and/​or pro­tect against the ele­ments as the sea­sons change, accor­ding to each space’s expo­sure. On all levels, the spaces are exten­ded out­side with ter­races or gar­dens, for indoor/​outdoor living, to make the most of natu­ral light eve­ryw­here and to open up or close off the space depen­ding on heat levels and the amount of light neces­sary or desi­red.