O-S Architects shared with us the Cultural Center of Saint-Germain-lès-Arpagon in Essonne, France, a project they won in January 2011 that will be in completed in 2013. Surrounded by a school and a cemetery, the project takes advantage of the sloping site to fit discreetly, while affirming its status of signal. The program is split into two levels, a high-level square and a low level square connected by a passage crossing the building. The urban composition and tight line in the landscape position the project as a pole of attraction in the neighborhood. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Regarding the Landscape
The new Cultural Center of Saint-Germain-lès-Arpajon settles into a long and narrow site, looking at the green valley of the Orge river, and dominated by the Parc of Chanteloup. These two landscapes are linked by a gradient slope whose dip allows to see the valley from the high point of the site.
A Functional and Uniting Project
The global volume and space, the functional organization and the facades are the three research axes that led our concept. They opted for a pragmatic organization based on quality of life and working conditions of staff that encourage exchange and conviviality. They tried to give curiosity and envy to users by promoting places based on exchange and sharing that are essential for a social and cultural center. The access of the cultural center opens between the two branches of the equipment inviting and guiding the user.
On the ground floor is the generous reception area, organizing access to the whole program: the multimedia library, the music and dance conservatoire, and the administrative offices. This is the place of information and organization, the window of the cultural center.
The multimedia library is directly accessible from the street and is organized in an L shape on a large playful and bright open space so that the library becomes an active space. The colored furniture acts as a partition and organizes the reading spaces.
On the lower level is the music school and administrative offices. The classrooms are organized on the north side while the two dance studios open generously to the east on the landscape of the valley.
Architect: Ateliers O-S Architectes Location: Saint Germain-Les-Arpajon, Essonne, France Team: Vincent Baur, Guillaume Colboc, Gaël Le Nouëne Landscape designer: Office of Landscape Morphology Fluids: CFERM Structure: C&E Economist: MDETC Acoustician: ORFEA Client: City of Saint-Germain-lès-Arpajon Schedule: Competition December 2011 / Completion September 2013 Budget: 5,280,000 € HT Area: 2 113 sqm²