La Turbie Mediatheque / Heams & Michel Architectes

© S. Demailly

Architects: Heams & Michel Architectes
Location: La Turbie,
Engineering: GL Ingénierie
Client: SIVOM de Villefranche sur mer
Project Area: 100 sqm
Project Year: 2009-2010
Photographs: M. Coen & S. Demailly

In the old village of La Turbie, close to the Trophy of August, we were asked to transform an old abandoned oven in a mediatheque.

The realization of such a program, in this particular place, only composed of village houses, is atypical. The plot is surrounded by four existing buildings, and so, the majority of the elevations are blind. The surface of the plot is 100 m 2 and half of this surface is occupied by two old ovens.

existant floor plan
project floor plan

In this project, we propose to play with the contrast between subjects, textures and feelings felt in the streets of the village and those that we would find in a mediatheque.

While respecting the history of this place that is so important for the inhabitants, this project is as atypical as the program and its geographical situation.

© S. Demailly

The old ovens are completely demolished to create a maximum of surface. Their memory is preserved by the projection of their footprint on the ground. In this small place, we designed mobile and ludic systems to answer to the complicated program and its different functions. Along the peripheral walls are nested linear racks, illuminated by tubes of light embedded in the wall, in a high position.

© S. Demailly

These shelves can receive books and also small colored seats and caster boxes. A large piece of furniture divides the space, playing with the different perspectives. It offers a desk and two computers. Sliding partitions with magnetized surface can be used for posting, creating animation on the wall.

A partition on casters nestled in the wall of the toilets can be opened, doubling the surface of posting. This partition can also acts as a projection screen.

© S. Demailly

A large glass roof illuminates the reading areas with natural light. Artificial lights in a shape of drops water materialize the ludic space that is at the place of the old ovens. The pieces of furniture are all in white enameled wood. This colour was chosen to increase the feeling of space and to contrast with the colours of the architecture of the village. Three colours were chosen for the furniture which punctuates the space. A glassy wall is printed of quotations of famous authors who wrote about La Turbie. This glassy wall comes in superposition of the existing stone facade, writing a new page in the history of the village, without disclaiming the past.

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "La Turbie Mediatheque / Heams & Michel Architectes" 20 Sep 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <>
  • shetu

    interesting facade

  • up_today_arch

    Wow… Desperate project:)….. I think i was very complicated for this small plot. But the final work is very solid and clear…

  • wpgmb

    it would have been nice if they had somehow managed to salvage the void space of the old ovens. that’s the nice thing about adaptive reuse projects: you still get a hint of the old bldg. here there is no hint, just white walls.

  • DaDe

    I think there is two round marks on the floor to remember the old ovens. I like this little project !

    • wpgmb

      i’m not sure if “two round marks on the floor” would immediately remind visitors of the now demolished ovens. but whatever. it’s a cute project, but i just think it was kind of a cop-out.

  • omikey

    You French architecture dudes are cool… nice job.

  • Emi

    Was better before!

  • putthisin

    Beautiful. Clear, tasteful and unpretentious

  • Komarovska

    that’s great, nice, very nice facade))