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Exploring connections. The design of a modern media room in Belleville, Paris

Dobrawa Bies
03 of February '22

Stanisław Borys, a student at the Faculty of Architecture at the Cracow University of Technology, attempted to answer the question, what should the media center of the future look like? The result is the design of a modern building using innovative technologies (BIM, tensegrity), combining education with community activation. The author proposed the 19th district of Paris as the location of the mediatheque.

The work "La Médiathèque - Paris Belleville" is an engineering project awarded by the Faculty of Architecture of the Cracow University of Technology, executed under the direction of Dr. Bartosz Dendura.

Projekt mediateki w Paryżu Belleville Mediateka w Paryżu

The designed mediatheque could be built in the 19th district of Paris

© Stanislaw Borys

The architectural concept for the building of a mediatheque in Belleville, Paris , is an attempt to respond to the discourse appearing in French publications, concerning the images of the mediatheque of the future, and to the dichotomy between the two basic functions that a mediatheque should fulfill: that is, as a place of education and information acquisition, and as a space for activating the local community," Stanislaw Borys introduces the work.

Projekt mediateki w Paryżu Belleville, plan zagospodarowania terenu

site development plan

© Stanislaw Borys

grid structure, that is?

According to the author, the dynamics of changes in behavior and needs of society are accelerating, and buildings with modern solutions are "aging" faster than ever. In order to keep the assumption up-to-date, the student referred to an objective constant related to education and social activation, namely the grid structure.

Projekt mediateki w Paryżu, budynek oraz jego funkcja

The keynote of the project was connections

© Stanislaw Borys

Looking, for example, at numerous contemporary theories of literature, they are based on the concept of intertextuality, or in simple terms, the existence of relationships between various texts - a fundamental tool for learning and development. Thus, for example, "philosophy should, in a sense, compose itself. In its development it must constantly renew itself, drawing on its own strengths or clashing with what it confronts; it is decided by what happens in it, not by a thesis or position; by the fabric, not by a deductive or inductive, single-track course of thought." [Adorno 1986, 50-51/13]. Some researchers also use this "network" model to depict other areas of culture and art, with the inclusion of architecture itself. For example, one can point out many similarities between Baroque painting and the architecture of the period, as they were shaped by similar factors, have similar stylistic features, and are ultimately read from today's perspective in a similar context - the subject of such analysis can be any matter, and the links between the various elements are selected according to the research needs. "The 'network' is a model that is often cited because it aptly visualizes the whole concept: it allows, among other things, to move backwards, to combine more than one point with a number of others, to point out distant and indirect connections," the author explains.

Projektowana mediateka mogłaby powstać w Paryżu Projekt mediateki w Paryżu Belleville

a characteristic element of the mediatheque is the facade

© Stanislaw Borys

Reflecting on another function to be fulfilled by the building of the mediatheque, Stanislaw Borys cited the development of technology, which is increasingly inseparable from human relations and the activities undertaken, also in the context of digital development in the field of data science (data analysis), and its application to the study of teamwork.

Today, many companies perform notification analysis, incorporating interactions between employees, its customers and visitors. When users share tasks, comment, post, they automatically exemplify this living work network, he adds.

media room design inspired by connections

Referring to such "networked" structures in society, the guiding idea behind the design of the Paris Belleville media room was connections. We can find the metaphor of the network of connections both in the learning process and in the general depiction of social relationships and interactions - two essential tasks for which the media room is the backdrop.

Projekt mediateki w Paryżu Belleville, rzut parteru

The project plot is located at the intersection of Rue Fessart and Rue Clavel

© Stanislas Borys

The concept of connections became the basis for the author to carry out the entire project, starting with the functional program and ending with the form of the building. The designed mediatheque was placed on a plot of land at the intersection of Rue Fessart and Rue Clavel in the 19th district of Paris. The translation of the visualized concept of connections into a building project was carried out by the young architect in two stages. The first step was to create a network of points in the volume of the planned building. The points were laid out on a geometric grid, with a slight twist closer to Rue Clavel to correct the shape of the frontage.

Projekt mediateki w Paryżu Belleville, elewacja

The glass façade was designed in a "double skin" system

© Stanislas Borys

Then, inside the created "point cloud", the author made connections, determining the key directions of the structural and volume elements that make up the building's form. The result is an open, transparent form, surrounding the interior spaces.

 Rysunek mediateki w wykonaniu Magdaleny Skroleckiej

drawing visualization of the idea

© Magdalena Skrolecka

The final and most important stage of designing the building was to show its concept to the audience. The student posed them the question "What would you like your space to look like - its business card and character?" The answer was to make a drawing on a sheet of paper, where the nodes defining the design became the millimeter paper for the illustrated idea. The author of the drawings is Magdalena Skrolecka, a student at the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow.

Tworzenie elewacji w systemie tensegrity

tensegrity facade creation

© Stanislaw Borys

innovative technologies in design

The design process of the building, according to the author, was extremely difficult and required checking many variants of technical solutions. Stanislaw Borys assumed that innovative technologies would be used in the mediatheque, such as BIM parametric design, the tensegrity structural system used in the building's glass façade in the "double skin" system, or the suspended ceilings of functional cubes used as "boxes within boxes."

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