Trapezoid Temple of Knowledge in the north of France

In Northern France, near Lille, lies the town of Courcelles-lès-Lens. Its population had outgrown the local library, so in an effort to accommodate the needs of its new citizens, the local government put out a call for architects to reimagine the site of an abandoned supermarket and transform it into a modern media library. The resulting structure is a sleek, modern companion to French provincial town life.

BUILDING ID
Location

Courcelles-lès-Lens, France

Project completion

2021

Designed by

ZITA! Damien Guiot Architectes-Urbanistes

Project type

renovation

Building type

public (media library)

Roof surface

ca. 2,500 m²

Roofing membrane

Firestone RubberGard EPDM 1.5 mm 

In 2017, the French town of Courcelles-lès-Lens called for architects to redesign an abandoned supermarket, launching a competition to transform it into a brand new media library. The local government decided this in the wake of an ever growing population, whose needs had outgrown the town’s existing library. The winning entry was sent in by Lille-based agency Zita! Architectes-Urbanistes. The local government selected their concept because of the unique vision and strong identity the agency envisioned for the building.

The former supermarket, located only a few hundred meters from the Courcelles-lès-Lens town hall, was redesigned to allow for an uninterrupted open interior without any load bearing walls or posts, providing ample space for several rooms and even a large auditorium for conferences, exhibitions and events. The structure, surrounded by gardens and greenery, even houses an internal patio as a cherry on top.
 

The real feat of the structure is, however, its uniquely shaped roof. With its irregular trapezoid contours, the roof is made up of twelve volumes that are all identical in size, mirroring the houses in the surrounding area. Each module is slanted in a different direction, with a large glass window adorning the protruding side. These windows cast natural light into the space below, allowing visitors to catch a glimpse of the surrounding landscape.

Each of the twelve modules is covered withEPDM roofing membranes that extend beyond the roof, sloping onto the facade. This allows for easy water management. Thanks to the black color typical of EPDM roofing membranes, any traces of dirt that could appear over time are less visible. This is a real asset for this project, because the highest points of the roof are almost 9 meters from the ground and therefore cannot be cleaned regularly. Annual maintenance interventions are therefore limited.

Long lasting solution with minimal maintenance

A total of 2,500 m² of Firestone Building Products’ RubberGard EPDM roofing membranes were used on the 12 modules of the media library, fully adhered to the substrate. For a minimalist aesthetic, the aluminum joinery was also covered with RubberGard EPDM. The membrane’s flame-free attachment method enabled a comfortable, safe and fast installation. With a thickness of 1.5 mm and a surface weight of 1.85 kg/m², the membrane did not weigh down the metal and glass roof structure and further facilitated handling on the jobsite.

With a life expectancy of more than 50 years, EPDM roofing membranes have an excellent resistance to UV rays, ozone and heat aging. Their elasticity, greater than 300%, is a guarantee of flexibility, allowing the membrane to accommodate the eventual movements of the building and the temperature fluctuations.
 

THE ROOF ASSEMBLY
01

RubberGard EPDM 1.5mm FAS

02

PIR insulation MAS

03

Corrugated steel

There is a lot to discover about EPDM

EPDM is the most future-proof roofing solution when it comes to sustainability, performance and design freedom. Learn more about the role it played within this project and many others by discovering its benefits.

How did EPDM elevate this project?

QUICK INSTALLATION

Installing EPDM is fast, flame-free and safe for people and the environment. When it comes to large roof surfaces and irregular shapes and forms, EPDM ensures a swift and easy installation process.

Unusual Forms

Freedom of design is key to those creating big things. Thanks to its flexibility and availability in big, single-ply sheets, EPDM supports creative solutions. It also enables future transformations and placing new objects on the roof.

DESIGNING BEYOND LIMITATIONS

Our buildings become symbolic of the times we live in, reflecting the spirit of a given era, attending to different needs, lifestyles, functions… “Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness”, says one of the most prominent architects of our time, Frank Gehry. Exploration of the emerging technological possibilities and imagining how a new value can be created in people’s lives, have been the guiding principles of the architectural pioneers compelled to respond to the challenges of their time. Today’s key challenge - sustainability - is adding new dimensions to the debate, bringing together form, function, the responsible choice of materials and long-term thinking. Keeping up has never been more important.