L'Atrium, Montpellier, France


With the Learning Center Atrium, the University of Montpellier presents the vision of a library in an increasingly digitalized world. Designed to be a meeting place, it offers spaces on the ground floor for people to meet and exchange. There is also the reception, the cafeteria and the exhibition halls. Three levels of rooms are superimposed, for reading and working, allowing to work seperately or in small groups, and also offices for the student services and book processing.

The climate concept allows different atmospheres: shadings made of paper and fabric create a diffused lighting for the reading rooms, supporting concentration; and the cafeteria is exposed to the South to take full advantage of the first rays of sunlight in cold season while being protected of the summer sun by a large overhang. The climate of Montpellier allows natural ventilation for a long period, which is implemeted for all spaces. The reading rooms, equipped with a displacement ventilation system, coupled with mechanical vents and an active slab, offer a high level of comfort for the students while respecting the conditions for conserving books. At all workplaces the occupants may manually cut the mechanical ventilation according to their appreciation.

The large lobby is conditioned naturally, for the most part, by storing and releasing heat in the thermal mass of the ceilings and floors and is naturally ventilated day- and nighttime. Some spaces with particular use (cafeteria, reception, exhibition) are heated or cooled by activation in the floor.