Institut des Sciences Moléculaires d’Orsay

KAAN Architecten

Architecture | International

Dutch firm KAAN Architecten presents the new Institut des Sciences Moléculaires d’Orsay (Université Paris-Sud/CNRS), part of the future campus of the Université Paris-Saclay (France).

Robust and elegant, while essentially open in character, the building is distinguished by a harmonic coexistence of nature and scientific research.

Entering the building, a clear white space unfolds and extends up to the roof. Daylight floods the atrium through the facade and a large skylight. The atrium features a reception desk, a cafeteria and a wide staircase descending to laboratories and the parking garage. To the right of the entrance, a library wall stretches over two storeys, connected by an enclosed spiral steel staircase. Pointing upwards, rectangular balconies project into the space as comfortable settings for conversations and exchange of ideas. The cohesive combination of daylight, spaciousness and sightlines creates a grand spatial effect.

Alongside laboratory research and data processing, the building accommodates academic education through an auditorium that is suspended like a box over the atrium at levels 3 and 4. The sloping underside of the seating area is a perfect complement to the skylight, as it reflects and doubles the light. Inside, the auditorium is warmly cladded with oak.

Photos: Fernando Guerra | FG+SG, Sebastian van Damme

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