Facing Niort’s historical city centre, the multimedia library forms part of a remarkable site in terms of its views and promenades in the very heart of the city, along the edge of the Sèvre River. The project involves the refurbishment of part of Niort’s cultural centre, which was built in the early 1980s and has remained unchanged since then. The volumes of the stages formed a rather imposing shape facing the Boulevard Gambetta that becomes more open to the east with the reading rooms, which look out onto the gardens and the picturesque landscape of the Sèvre River. To the west lies a reconstructed nineteenth-century port building. The project exceeds the programme’s stated goal of reimagining the reading rooms and increasing their area to create a new sense of unity between the buildings whereby each architectural expression remains legible within a whole that represents the city’s own transformation.
The cultural centre, which consists of the Pierre Moinot Multimedia Library and the National Theatre, was built in the early 1980s. Its restructuring mainly involved a réorganisation the interior spaces open to the public, which are connected to the port building by means of an extension.
After an initial phase for cleaning and asbestos removal of the existing structure, the worksite consisted mainly of the construction of a metal structure extension that is almost like a suspended walkway.
The cultural centre was built in the early 1980s between the Boulevard Main and the banks of the Sèvre River. The port building dates back to the nineteenth century.
The extension is shaped like a bridge-building that is attached to the side of the nineteenth-century building and to the entrance to the Moulin du Roc National Theatre on the other.
The extension’s largely glassed-in façade highlights the foliage of the trees, offering readers a pleasant natural lighting and a spectacle that changes across the seasons.
The various sectors are subdivided to benefit from the building’s inherent qualities as much as possible: the work and research spaces sit along the façade, where users benefit from the large openings onto the urban and natural environment; the multimedia, music listening, and film-watching sections are located in the centre of the building; and the shelving for the presentation of the collections follows the progressive logic of the spaces.