Mont-de-Marsan, a town in the French department of Landes, is home to a media library that, surrounded by glazed walls, rises in the middle of a square overlooked by the buildings that once formed the Bosquet Barracks, although they are no longer used by the military.
The new complex was designed by Archi5 and holds 100,000 books and 12,000 CDs plus DVDs, computers and an auditorium, making it a key cultural centre for the entire area.
The building is slightly above the level of the square and lightly offset from the axes of the surrounding buildings, adding to its designation as the fulcrum of the local urban fabric. Yet, since the more austere surrounding facades are reflected in the glass walls, it also creates an interplay between past and present.
Of course, the use of glass adds a sense of transparency, as well as reflection, an effect added to by the double-skin ventilated facade. Each layer of this double skin is made of single-chamber insulating glass, with Guardian’s ClimaGuard® Premium used on the inside. The triangular and diamond shaped windows (4.5x3 m diagonally) are bolted onto the steel frame of the facade. The glazed section of roof connecting the two skins set 2 m apart is double glazed with SunGuard® SN 51/28, which only lets certain rays through to ensure an excellent balance between keeping the sun out but letting light in. The standard is for a glass roof to have a solar factor of 30% or less. The structure also includes a forced ventilation system with separate extraction and distribution systems, in which the air is distributed at ground level and then extracted at roof level, with heat recovery. The addition of openable windows helps with heat removal in the upper section and, in combination with the rest of the ventilation system, ensures internal comfort in winter and summer.
A large, open-air interior courtyard provides much of the natural light and creates visual links between different parts of the complex. The choice of glazing was once again the SuperNeutral family, but this time the SN 70/41 option, which lets 70% of natural light in, but only 41% of solar radiation.
SuperNeutral windows not only provide excellent protection against the sun in summer, but are also excellent insulators in winter, with a Ug coefficient of 1.1W/m2K (SN 70/41) and 1.0 W/m2K (SN 51/28).
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