Stanton Williams has been appointed to design the Clermont-Ferrand Metropolitan Area Library in France, seeing off competition from OMA, Snohetta, Wilmotte & Associes, and Christian de Portzamparc. Designed in collaboration with local practice Marcillon Thuillier Architectes, the new library will act as a social and creative hub in the heart of Clermont-Ferrand, with its 11,500 square meter area making it the largest in central France. Stanton Williams’ concept for the library inserts a jewel-like piece of contemporary architecture at the heart of the restored historic Hotel-Dieu hospital in the center of the city. The 17th-century hospital and garden will be reimagined as a shared home for the new library and its collections. At the heart of the scheme is a double-height, light-filled central forum, inserted as a giant “glass jewel” box into the horseshoe shape of the existing building. Conceived as a free space for research, discovery, and dialogue, the translucent glass structure mediates between earth and sky, books and people, building and garden, historic city and the spectacular presence of the Puy de Dome on the horizon.
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