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The competition for a new mixed-use building in Lille piqued our interest both in its unprecedented mixture of program and its prominent triangular site in the heart of the new district of Porte de Valenciennes. The brief outlined a 70-cradle nursery, a 200-bed youth hostel, and an office dedicated to social and economic innovations all collected under one unified roof; a tall order even by multifunctional building standards. Rather than simply dividing horizontally by level or vertically by mass, our solution combines efficient organization with a programmatic strategy that converts the geometric constrictions of the site into social amenities, and resolves the seemingly contradictory functions in an intertwined social spiral. Over the past twenty years Lille has become a European hub; a destination for business and congress, a great place to study and live and also a tourist destination. It is a city with a turbulent history of conquest and reconquest, a heritage as an important medieval city and later on enjoyed and sometimes suffered the title of Northern France industrial capital. View more View full description
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