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Jussieu Library

Client: Ministere de l'Education Nationale et de la Culture, Academie de Paris

Designers: Office for Metropolitan Architecture

Edouard Albert’s Jussieu University campus dates back to the 1960s. Because the site of the university was never completed after the May 1968 student revolt, the area was not functioning as it should have been, as it was more a network without a core than a building. A competition was organised, asking entrants to create a vibrant public space in which campus and city were more closely integrated.

OMA won the competition with a radical design of two libraries in which floors are strung together rather than stacked. The original commission specification involved integrating two new libraries into the existing structure. Instead, OMA designed a single, detached building at the point where two new axes intersect: an urban axis of the new metro entrance to the river Seine and a green axis parallel to the river.
 
The building plan envisages a folding of the surface to heighten its density; the spaces between the folds function as floors. Rather than simply stacking floors, all storeys are interlinked by a meandering boulevard, 35% of which is not horizontal. The floors thus form a continuous circuit winding its way through the entire building. Visitors stroll through an urban environment with squares, parks, cafes and shops, tempted by a world of books and information.

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