We were given the plan of Sir John Soane Museum in London to choose and analyse one program from it. From the program we chose - Library - we asked ourselves what defines a library and we came to focus on the coexistence of private and public out of a number of characteristics we identified*.
This has been the goal in the conception of the project.
Concept: public X private
Studying their definitions and what they mean to us, we defined some main points of these two types of spaces as follows:
- Public: easily accessible, bigger in dimensions (fits a large number of people), open (ex.: park), general
- Private: not easily accessible (locked or hidden), enclosed, rather small, private to a certain number of people, but, as well, if we consider the psychological dimension, the limited access might not be enough to define a space private. Would a library to which only you have access but which inside you can't find any books of your favourite authors feel just as private as one with your own collection?
From these points, we decided we would like a to create a room where both, private and public, coexist and where one is conditioned upon the other.
The points identified were interpreted into three main spaces that coexist - the public (which was later replaced by the scène located in front of our project in the center of the proto), the private (close to the existing wall of the Citroen building,) and the space of transition between them.
These spaces were created through a floor, five identical panels which we call filters, a U-shape wall which marks the end of the project, and a bench in the private space.
- Location: Following the axe of the central entrance of the building, the project starts in the center of the protostructure (where the public part is located, linking back to the easy access point identified), and ends near the wall of the building at the back of the protostructure, which increases the intimacy. The end of the protostructure is extended to allow a larger private space.
View with the surroundings of the protostructure and other projects
Dimensions: The key dimensions were defined in relation to the scène (which we consider as the public) - its diameter became the width of the floor and the filters follow the proportions of the floor, such as the last wall in U shape. Also, the dimensions of the protostructure influenced the spacing in the floor, spacing in the vertical elements of the filters and the length of the bench.
Five filters guide the transition from the public to the private. They add up to one ( the U-shaped wall) that closes the deepest part of the arrière-scène if one looks from the scène. The private reveals itself becoming more and more visible as one approaches it by passing by each filter, which makes the number of filters in front of the private area decrease every time. Here we can also understand the conditions imposed from one another: if all of the filters are removed (theoretically), the public and private don't differ anymore.
Simulation of the passage from the public to the private with the decreasing number of filters - starting to see through
Interior views of the private space - panels, bench and U-shaped wall
Three main elements - protostructure, floor and filters - relate with one another: the floor reveals the rhythm of the protostructure and is placed after all the underground structure for the filters are already in place, defining their position; the protostructure serves as part of the frame of the filters to ensure its stability; the constructive system of the protostructure is extended and used to stabilize the U-shaped wall.
View of the floor and U-shaped wall without the panels
Detail of the last wall integrated into the protostructure (the U-shaped wall blocks the access from the back of the protostructure without disturbing people walking around the proto.)
The system of the protostructure is repeated to make the structure of the bench
Coupe AA' 1:20
Coupe BB' 1:20
Axonometric assembly detail of the floor 1:5
Axonometric assembly detail of the filter 1:5
Details of the final filter design 1:10
Previous filter designs