Media library in Thionville

Conceived as a “third place”, the media library by Dominique Coulon & associés rests on a principle of independent, irregular systems that create tension in the space and in how it is read.

Dominique Coulon & associés, Media library (Third-Place) in Thionville, France, 2016
This project has the ambition of becoming a new model for media libraries. The programme calls the functions of a media library into question, lending it the content of a “third place” – a place where members of the public become actors in their own condition, a place for creation as well as reception. In association with the basic programme, the building includes areas for displays, creation, music studios, and a café-restaurant. The various activities in the programme blend into each other, creating a dynamic arrangement.


The building comes up close to the crown of plane trees – this is the first thickness to act as a filter from the street. The facade serves as an unfurling ribbon that works as a backdrop to the different universes contained in the programme. At its closest to the street, the ribbon dips, the better to contain it, rising again where it stands further back. In the hollows, the border between the interior space and the urban space is less clear and makes it possible to come closer, to embrace the building visually. The hollow and solid sections produce an ambiguity between inside and outside, questioning the borders of the public space.

Dominique Coulon & associés, Media library (Third-Place) in Thionville, France, 2016
Dominique Coulon & associés, Media library (Third-Place) in Thionville, France, 2016
A garden ramp offers another escape route to the outside, leading upwards to a summer bar, the culminating point of the architectural promenade. The building rests on a principle of independent, irregular systems. Stacking these simple systems, each with their own logic, creates tension in the space and in how it is read. The bubbles contain very specific elements of the programme, such as a storytelling area, language laboratories, places for playing video games, a plastic arts room, etc. They are defined as cocoons where people are cut off from the other universes, escaping from the collective area. The bubbles are the last refuge, the most intimate part of the building. The colour and the materials of the principal space bring out variations of light and colouring that contrast with the material nature of the bubbles.

Media library (Third-Place) in Thionville, France
Programme:  Media library, creative studios, broadcasting media room and auditorium
Architect:  Dominique Coulon & associés – Dominique Coulon, Steve Letho Duclos
Architects assistant:  Gautier Duthoit
Construction site supervision:  Steve Letho Duclos
Structural Engineer:  Batiserf Ingénierie
Electrical Engineer:  BET G.Jost
Mechanical Plumbing Engineer:  Solares Bauen
Cost Estimator:  E3 économie
Acoustics:  Euro sound project
Landscape:  Bruno Kubler
Area:  4,590 sqm
Completion:  2016

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