Glass monolith in Lille

Glass monolith in Lille

The northeastern city of Lille has long since transformed from a gray industrial city into a modern and attractive service metropolis. The course for this was set in the 1980s with the development of the Euralille business district, which has since been followed by the Euratechnologies innovation district and the Eurasanté biotechnology park. Now there is further growth in the form of the Eurartisanat Campus, the center of which is the Chambre de Métiers et de l'Artisanat Hauts-De-France, which was completed in January 2019.

The 14,800 square meter and 36.5 million euro government complex is a joint design by the Dutch office KAAN Architecten (Rotterdam / Paris) and the French office Pranlas-Descours architect & amp; associates (Paris) and emerged from a competition win in 2007. The building, built over a square footprint of 80 by 80 meters, develops horizontally and, on three levels, offers offices and administrative areas as well as space for practical mediation, including in the form of a cookery and hairdressing school. There are also exhibition areas, an auditorium and a restaurant in the spacious building.

When designing the exterior, the architects worked with a range of materials reduced to glass and gray stone. A modular double facade made of glass envelops the building, whereby each module consists of an internal window, embedded in a frame made of polished aluminum, and a floor-to-ceiling glass plate fixed in front of it. This creates a minimalist, elegant appearance and a lot of transparency, but also serves for air conditioning and acoustics. At the level of the first level, the structure jumps back all the way around, so that the upper volume seems to float above the lower one when viewed from a distance.

For better structuring, the complex is interspersed with six rectangular, symmetrically arranged courtyards - four smaller and two larger ones - which divide it into four clusters. The chamber building also includes two public spaces: the Place des Artisans in the southern ground floor area and a large roof terrace on the north side, where the ground floor extends far beyond the square cubature and creates a visual bridge towards the city center and the adjacent botanical garden. (there)