Architecture    Culture   
Guy-Belisle Municipal Library

COMPETITION

The construction of a new library on the outskirts of the town of Saint-Eustache required the recovery and redevelopment of an exceptional site on the banks of the Mille-Îles river that had been abandoned since the closure of the old water treatment plant. The library is now a kind of bridge between the river and the town where nature and culture intermingle. Rather than a vision of monumentality, i.e., a powerful, vertical gesture marking the limits of a city, the project opted for a model that reflects the values and aspirations of Saint-Eustache, showcasing the riverside landscape.

Country

Canada

City

Saint-Eustache

Client

Ville de Saint-Eustache

Surface Area

2 600 m2

Year

2008 - Concept

The desired visibility is obtained through a long main façade that sets up a broad interface with the city and stands on the axis of Grande-Côte road. The building emerges above the park like a medieval pavilion, yet on an appropriate scale, not out of balance with the Old Saint-Eustache area. The outskirts of the town are thus framed by a balance between landscape and architecture, in keeping with the architectural and natural heritage associated with Saint-Eustache.

The library has a simple volumetry that has been fractioned to better match the accidented topography of the site. The building covers two floors on split levels on the river side, though only a single storey can be seen from the street.

Designed for maximum transparency, the lobby is an elongated space that opens onto an outdoor terrace at the back. As an extension of the urban square, it is simultaneously a waiting and exhibition area, a place for meeting, discussion and entertainment. The adjacent multipurpose room can be expanded into the lobby, allowing for various configurations so that activities and events of all kinds can be held.

The entirely windowed envelope reflects the landscape during the day and at night becomes a lantern revealing what is taking place inside. A place of rest, contemplation, learning, entertainment, work, interaction and dissemination of ideas, the new library welcomes visitors and employees in utmost comfort.

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