Marne-la-Vallée University Library – French Building

Marne-la-Vallée University Building, French Library, Architect, Parisian Architecture Design

Marne-la-Vallée University Library, Paris

Paris Building Development – design by Beckmann-N’Thépé Agency, architects

7 Nov 2012

Marne-la-Vallée University Library

Paris, France

Design: Beckmann-N’Thépé Agency



The Beckmann-N’Thépé agency chose an audacious strategy for the design of the new Marne-la-Vallée university library, which resembles a mound of earth ‘torn from its natural environment,’ in harmony with its surroundings. ‘Between naturalism and terror, ‘the Marne-la-Vallée Library puts us in touch with our dreams – active, joyous, sometimes disturbing, comforting, but always salutary’ – Aldric Beckmann.

Marne-la-Vallée University Library Marne-la-Vallée University Library Building Marne-la-Vallée University Library Paris
photos © Olivier Amsellem

The new central library was built as part of an ambitious public regeneration project, dedicated to research and further education, and focused on making university centres more attractive.

The nerve centre of the university, the library will offer a new quality of life for students, with places for 1200 readers. Suspended above a water garden, large areas of colour juxtapose gold and cement.

The library is located on a remarkable site, the High House Farm. This historic place, which dates from the 17th century, is surrounded, like the central courtyard, by a moat, two elements which bestow a special atmosphere. The new Marne la Vallée library conforms to the latest environment requirements, and has received the Haute Qualité Environnementale certificate. It has been designed with the conservation and the regeneration of its historic and physical heritage in mind. The contemporary architecture coexists and dialogues with the historic architecture, a confrontation that is dynamic and convivial: the forecourt is home to a work by the artist Krijn de Koning, fulfilling the obligation to devote 1% of the budget for a public building on a cultural intervention.

Marne-la-Vallée University Library Marne-la-Vallée University Library Building Marne-la-Vallée University Library Paris
photos © Olivier Amsellem

The two parts of the building are intentionally different. The lower part, the entrance, is simple, light and rectilinear. The materials used are thick glass and steel. This part supports the upper part – the reading rooms. This space, raised earth, in dark brown cement, is pierced by gilded glass niches and patios which bring in natural light. For Aldric Beckmann, ‘the rocky fragment of the library asserts a beauty that comes from harmony and seduction which work subjectively on the viewer who is affected and moved.‘

The interior is calm and white. The main space is generous and open; an atrium, a majestic staircase, and discrete planting link the internal spaces with the external landscape: a water garden and low hills provide the public with places dedicated to reading.

Marne-la-Vallée University Library Marne-la-Vallée University Library Building Marne-la-Vallée University Library Paris
photos © Olivier Amsellem

Marne-la-Vallée University Library – Building Information

Construction of a library / lansdcaping and moat / Reading rooms, auditorium, cafeteria, offices, logistics, parking (20 places)
Architects : Beckmann-N’Thépé AGENCY
LANDSCAPE DESIGNER: Emmanuelle Blanc (Paris – FRANCE)
CLIENT: Marne-la-Vallée UNIVERSITY (Marne-la-Vallée – FRANCE)
CLIENT Assistance : AURIS (Boulogne-Billancourt – FRANCE)
Surface  AREA: 8,670 m² + OUT DOOR SPACES

Marne-la-Vallée University Library images / information from Beckmann-N’Thépé Agency

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Marne-la-Vallée University Library – page