The new multimedia library designed by Chapuis Royer Architectes creates a dialogue between a sensitively restored former priory and an understated contemporary extension.
Montbonnot-Saint-Martin is a small commune in France’s Isère department, not far from the Alps. It’s here that Chapuis Royer Architectes, a Grenoble-based practice established in 1985 that focuses on public buildings of every kind, oversaw the restoration and extension of a former priory to create a new complex that includes a media center, a multipurpose room, and a youth center.
The goal was to create new architecture in continuity with the existing building and without detracting from the surrounding landscape. So, while the renovation required the demolition of floors and a number of partition walls, all work was done with the utmost respect for the most historically significant architectural elements. As a result, the project has preserved the historical character of the former priory by leaving the physiognomy of the facades and most of the decorations unaltered. The former Priory of Saint-Martin has therefore retained its identity while being integrated into the overall multimedia library project.
The extension was designed to meet current needs with contemporary structures and modern facilities. It creates a continuity with the existing building and, through the use of materials such as glass, wood, and stone, reinterprets the local architecture. The project comprises a multipurpose room, a youth center, and a multimedia library, surrounding a glassed-in courtyard area that overlooks the priory. This architectural element acts as a filter between the old and new, while opening magnificent views of the Belledonne and Chartreuse mountain ranges.
Architect: Chapuis Royer Architectures (project managers: Dominique Chapuis, David Billy-Dorée)
Location: Montbonnot Saint-Martin, France
Year: March 2019
Photography by © Andrea Bosio,
courtesy of Chapuis Royer Architectures
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