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Stanton Williams wins hotly contested French library job

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Striling Prize-winning practice Stanton Williams has beaten big names from across Europe, including OMA and Snøhetta, to land a major public building in central France

The practice, working with local outfit Marcillon Thuilier Architectes, won an international contest to deliver the Clermont-Ferrand Metropolitan Area Library.

The duo’s designs were chosen ahead of proposals from Rotterdam’s OMA, Snøhetta from Oslo, and Parisian practices Wilmotte & Associés and Christian de Portzamparc.

Stanton Williams will lead a team, which as well as Marcillon Thuillier, includes heritage specialist Rémi Fromont and landscape architect Moz Paysage to design the 11,500m² library in the Clermont Auvergne region.

Stanton Williams principal director Patrick Richard said the project would ‘reinforce the practice’s strong links with Europe’.

He added: ‘In a time when local libraries and community centres here in the UK are being closed and under increasing budget pressure, the new Metropolitan Library in Clermont-Ferrand is a bright example that there is faith in the importance and transformational power of access to literature and culture that our cities and communities need more than ever.’

This is a bright example of faith in the importance of access to literature and culture that our cities need more than ever

The winning concept reimagines the 17th-century Hôtel-Dieu hospital building and garden as a home for the library and its collections.

Stantonwilliams clermont ferrand model b (c)stale eriksen

Model - competition-winning scheme July 2019

Source: Stale Eriksen

Model - competition-winning scheme July 2019

A double-height central forum will be ‘inserted as a giant glass jewel’ into the horseshoe shape of the existing building, according to Stanton Williams.

It says the translucent glass structure is ‘conceived as a free space for research, discovery and dialogue’ and ‘mediates between earth and sky, books and people, building and garden, historic city and the spectacular presence of the Puy de Dôme on the horizon.’ 

The project will employ passive cooling strategies and focus on responsible use of materials, such as locally sourced volcanic stone and a timber engineered structure. 

Stanton Williams completed the Musée d’arts de Nantes in north-west France in 2017. It won the Stirling Prize in 2012 for its Sainsbury Laboratory at Cambridge University.

Clermont ferrand forum lr

Forum - competition-winning scheme July 2019

Forum - competition-winning scheme July 2019

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