Inaugurated in the 1960s by André Malraux, the MJC required an extension and renovation. The extension is a continuation of the original building to the Quai de la Leysse offering it the urban façade it was lacking. This façade comprising a single face of mirror finish stainless steel, pierced with a single window forming tympanum based on the urban alignment, reflects the moving street and its immobile façades.
The programme’s inherited envelope required expanding, following the rough-cut of the original volume, giving the building greater importance and bringing the extension forward to the quay. This expansion was achieved by emptying the interior using patios and terraces, following a standard procedure that reverses and interiorizes the plan around the courtyard or atrium, after the fashion of numerous townhouses and palazzi built in dense urban centres. The well-known Casa del Fascio in Como, by the architect Giuseppe Terragni, is a fine example of an expansion of the plan in depth.
The vertical strip openwork of the side façades and the open metal grating of the patio terrace’s circular openings maintain privacy by screening the areas from neighbouring buildings and protecting them from the sun. They also give the building depth. The light envelope and floor systems, which are both permeable and a response to light, confer the building with a textile quality.
In contrast, the omnipresent concrete inside gives a feeling of permanence and stability to the interior spaces.it is the matrix of the construction, used for the shell, walls, partitions, slabs, and stairs, without differentiating structure and partition of space. Its very mass provides the acoustic insulation required between activity rooms. All the equipment required for the proper use of the premises – separating doors, sound traps, fluids, lighting, signs – are distinctly inserted in this matrix : wall-mounted, loose, in a way never irreversible. The metal fairing of the façades and roof protects, insulates and envelops the concrete matrix, similar to a thermos, maintaining continuity with no need thermal bridge issue.