Cite du design by LIN 05.01.10

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An energy-generating skin covers the building (image: Francois Maisonnasse, LIN)

Cite du design in Saint-Etienne, France, has been completed by Berlin- and Paris-based studio LIN. Part new-build, part renovation, part monument, it provides space for Ecole Supérieure d'Art et Design de Saint-Etienne, an art school that has been operating in various guises since 1803. As well as new space and facilities, the complex provides opportunities to forge stronger links between the school and industry, as well as providing a new public space dedicated to art and design.

Under principals Finn Giepel and Giulia Andi, LIN has a background in designing cultural and educational spaces in a stripped functionalist style, an approach that works well when negotiating existing buildings, such as at its St Nazaire arts venue (icon 057). The Cité du Design, a former barracks, falls into this pattern.

The main building, basically a shed, is a cornucopia of advanced building technologies: it sports geothermal heating and ventilation, and a modular skin bristling with experimental photovoltaic and photosynthetic panels, as well as highly controlled variations in sunlight penetration. This consummately high-tech building, a distant cousin of Norman Foster's Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts, will also be used as a guinea pig for testing advanced facade technologies, with the opportunity to replace parts of the skin as new systems become available.

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A new public space for art and design (image: Francois Maisonnasse, LIN)

 

 Words

Douglas Murphy

quotes story

LIN has a background in designing cultural and educational spaces in a stripped functionalist style, an approach that works well when negotiating existing buildings

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The site is a former army barracks (image: Francois Maisonnasse, LIN)

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