The curving, organically shaped Media Library in Thionville, France also goes by the moniker Third-Place. Designed by Strasbourg-based firm Dominique Coulon & associés behind this pink-and-black school and this cheery elderly care center, it challenges the traditional function of a library by serving as a place of creation, where visitors take on an active role as participants in their own environment.
Comprising various spaces, the library includes displays, work areas, a music studio, and a cafe-restaurant that all run into one another, creating a dynamic and free-flowing center of activity. This energy is encouraged by the architecture of the building, which from above appears to roughly contain the shape of a soft-cornered cube but with curved notches and “bubbles”—as if an amoeba were held in a box.
The architects refer to its facade as an “unfurling ribbon,” which acts as a white skin covering walls of glass, dipping down on the street-side of the library and lifting up revealing more of the interior toward the back. A ramp leads up to the expansive roof garden, a green oasis for napping, gathering, or reading, complementing the library’s wholistic approach to discovery and freedom.