French architect Paul Le Quernec—he of the world's most militant nursery school—was presented with a difficult challenge in creating this cultural center in Mulhouse, France. While the neighborhood is currently undergoing a bit of a facelift, with construction in the works for playgrounds, new apartments, and a park, it was still a rough enough neighborhood for Le Quernec to take into the consideration that whatever he built might fall victim to squatters, theft, or at the very least, some pesky graffiti. A very small plot of land provided for the cultural center also meant that space needed to be used in a smart way. Despite these concerns, the architect main goal was to "prevent the building from becoming a monolithic block stuck between apartment towers." Well, mission accomplished.
According to Archinect, the structure's stern black siding—made from pre-weathered zinc scales layered atop wooden sheathing—provides protection for the 13,454-square-foot, candy-colored, maze-like interiors. The space makes room for a box office, classrooms, a changing room, a community hall, and even teaching kitchens. There are also patio spaces covered in grid-like beams so that outsiders can't see in, "bays, windows and open sight lines [to] provide points of reference," and of course, plenty of signage. Architizer has the full story.