Pascale Guedot has brought sustainable architecture back to Oloron-Sainte-Marie in southwestern France, a town that was once an industrial wasteland.
The Oloron-Sainte-Marie Multimedia Center is now an eco friendly community gathering spot where an abandoned beret factory once stood. With the multimedia center, Pascale Guedot and Michel Corajoud built public architecture that complements its environment; there is access to the riverbanks and a public promenade.
Originally a municipal initiative dating from 1990, the Confluence site is now a showcase for recent intercommunal aspirations. A child of deindustrialisation, in the late 19th century this urban wasteland housed a high concentration of textile industries, which exploited the hydroelectric power produced by the torrents. With the development of the road networks and because of the site's inaccessibility, industry gradually moved to the outskirts and changed its character.
The bright atmosphere comes from the natural light that penetrates through the roof lights in the wooden lattice covering the ground floor ceiling. Opposite the entrance, an immense window draws the eye towards the water and the riverbanks, the focus of the relaxation space located at this spot. At basement level, the light has its source in the transparent glass curtain wall which diffuses natural light and offers a surprising panorama of the Pyrenean torrents and their untamed banks, contrasting with the historic and immemorial town above them.Inside, the center is green with an atrium in the heart of the building as well as green in the eco-friendly sense with large windows to provide natural light and a view of Pyrenees.