The Chambre de Métiers et de l’Artisanat Hauts-de-France (CMA) is a multifunctional building for collective use. The clients ambition was to accomplish a flexible building in the architectural and urban sense, along with the presentation of a unified appearance.
The new building is located within Eurartisanat district in the south of Lille, an area identified by the juxtaposition of heavy traffic infrastructure and lush greenery. The building’s geometry, minimalist aesthetics and transparency embrace the nature reinforcing the link between north and south and opening the fabric to the botanical gardens north of the site.
Spreading over three floors a total of 14.800 m2, the building houses offices for the local and regional Chamber of Trades and Crafts and the associated training school. Coexistence of such various users is enabled by a double entry disposition through two public squares on different levels. Both entrances are connected by a linear succession of representative spaces such as the southern square, the entrance hall, the auditorium, and a wide opening overlooking the north terrace. This central part of the building is an integral part of the institute, but can also be used separately, for a congress or otherwise.
The CMA is symmetrically organized around six patios that provide natural light for most circulation spaces and divide the building into four clusters housing different realms and spanning through the whole three levels. Functions vary from local and regional administration to research and educational facilities (hairdressing school, cooking school, laboratories, classrooms). The new building acts as a hub for both the Chambre and the associated training schools, which had been previously scattered throughout the historic city centre of Lille. The building articulates itself as a multifunctional building for collective use.
The building has been designed with flexibility and modularity in mind. Primarily natural materials are used on the facades for aesthetic and technical reasons: glass, stone and so-called double facades based on modular elements. The inner elements of the double facade consist of windows that can be opened and metal sheeting of brushed aluminum. The outer elements consist of glass and are provided with a reflective print with a gradient from top to bottom and vice versa, so that a fully transparent zone is created at eye level. This silkscreen is made up of mirroring, reflective material. Through its materiality the building aims to both articulate, absorb and reflect the surrounding nature while, at the same time, constitute itself as an inhabited landscape dedicated to the public sphere.
The glass is the full story height, emphasizing the basic principle of this design: two horizontal strips (ground floor and second floor) embrace and reflect the surrounding landscape. The large size of these glass elements respond to and are in coherence with the scale of the building, an 80m by 80m square, with its six-meter cantilever, expressing a strong relationship to the landscape.
KAAN Architecten is a Rotterdam, São Paulo and Paris based architectural firm that operates in a global context while merging practical and academic expertise within the fields of architecture, urbanism, and research on the built environment.
Led by Kees Kaan, Vincent Panhuysen and Dikkie Scipio, the studio consists of an international team of architects, landscape architects, urban planners, engineers, and designers. KAAN Architecten believes in cross-pollination between projects and disciplines as an essential tool to fostering a critical debate within the firm.
The office has handled a wide range of projects, actively working within the private and the public sector, with project teams that are multidisciplinary and dynamic. KAAN Architecten maintains a culture of constant evolution, which is essential in a profession that changes at a rapid pace. KAAN Architecten’s projects transcend the traditional notions of scale and typology, ranging from interiors to urban development.