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Bibliothèque Alexis de Tocqueville

The Bibliothèque Alexis de Tocqueville is the new public library for the metropolitan region of Caen la mer in Normandy, France. Located at the basin St Pierre at the intersection of the city's historic core and the new eastern redevelopment area la Grande Mosaic, the 12,500m2 multimedia library is a prominent new public centre for Caen. The building has been designed by OMA in collaboration with Barcode Architects. The design of the Bibliothèque Alexis de Tocqueville is characterized by a cross-shaped floorplan responding to the library’s urban context, with each of the four protruding planes pointing to a landmark in Caen. The main public space of the library is its lifted panoramic reading room, on the 2nd floor, from which the cityscape of Caen enters the world of books and digital media within the building. Floor-to-ceiling glass façade panels specially developed for load bearing maximize the transparency and openness of the reading room. The interior is completely column free, allowing the four different sectors, each respectively related to a pedagogic discipline -- human sciences, science and technology, literature, and the arts – to be optimally connected. The first floor contains a large variety of work and reading spaces as well as 120,000 documents. Along with the physical collection, a digital extension has been integrated into the bookshelves. Open-plan offices and rolling furniture provide the library with flexible tools for the reinvention of public reading.

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