Restructured and enlarged, the Saint-Corneille library has undergone a complete renewal and been given new volumes. It is incorporated into the remains of the Saint-Corneille Abbey of which only the cloister, a cellar and the external envelope still exist. The archaeological cut-away provide an understanding of the building’s historic complexity.
The entrance has been redefined through the addition of a contemporary glass volume. From the street, passers-by can see the vaults supporting the ground floor and the cellar, and discover the atmosphere of the setting. The reading spaces have been rethought on each level. The ground floor is given over to current affairs and an arts and leisure sector, while the first floor is devoted to young people, languages and literature. The second floor groups together the social sciences. The basement is used to archive historic documents. A conference space has been laid out in the former chapter house. Lighting is maximised through the creation of new openings in the façade. The introduction of natural light into the building creates a link between inside and outside.
The simple yet comfortable interior architecture is based on the use of highly resistant materials in dialogue and harmony with each space. The finishes used, such as stone, wood, glass and metal, are both noble and long-lasting.