The building located in Caen was conceived by OMA – OFFICE FOR METROPOLITAN ARCHITECTURE studio and is part of a wider project that includes the redevelopment of the whole peninsula where once there was the port area. The cross-shaped building marks this central location between the old city and the new and spreads over four floors (11.700 sqm in total). Its design responds to the urban context, with each of the four protruding planes of the cross pointing to a landmark point in Caen: to the historical sites of the Abbaye-aux-Dames, the Abbaye-aux-Hommes, the central train station and the area of new construction. At the same time, the geometry of two intersecting axes is informed by the library’s programmatic logic. The four planes, each housing a pedagogic discipline – human sciences, science and technology, literature, and the arts – meet in a large reading room on the first floor, to encourage maximum flow between the departments.

An exclusive location characterized by an area of 7,800 sqm of metal false ceilings designed by Armstrong which with unique and modern shapes and sound-absorbing proprieties contributed to enhance the project and transformed the library into an ideal place where people can spend time studying or relaxing with a good book. Armstrong has offered expanded metal sheet solutions which have been exclusively designed for the entrance, the exhibition rooms, the restaurant and the space for kids. Another distinguishing element of the system designed by Armstrong is the possibility to integrate lighting solutions within the false ceilings, so as to create interplays of light and shadow along the steel surfaces.

Then we should mention the false ceilings made of perforated metal sheets which have been used in the reading room located on the first floor. This central space has been conceived as a cross-shaped platform dominated by pure transparencies and shades where plays of shapes and lights welcome the visitors in a minimalist universe.