Photovoltaic, opaque panels and Light+Shadow make the structure and the envelope blend together - Credit: LIN Architects / HEFI sas
In Saint-Etienne, the envelope perfectly matches the structure on which it is directly supported. This envelope acts like a multi-functional filter capable of creating differentiated light and climatic ambiences as a function of programmed event contents and use. The structure itself is formed from a single metallic lattice, and tends to visually disappear as a structure. It seems to want to blend into the envelope with which it shares a triangular grid. The façades and the roof are perfectly continuous, joined by the same infill elements and the same framework. Its façades, roof, structure and envelope are designed such that they compose a uniform but modulable exhibition, conference and information tool designed like a large reactive filtering skin.
Aurélie Bareille, CSTB engineer, reports that about ten different triangular panels have been used as façade and roof infill elements, from the most traditional to the most sophisticated, to enable perfect modulation of light and shade as a function of the needs of internal spaces. The Lin architect's office imagined a complete range of devices varying from simple opaque panels covering about 60% of the building to extra-clear or coloured glass panels, using an entire technological range including photovoltaic cells or sunshades. This is simply a non-exhaustive list that will be extended in coming decades, considering the experimental nature and prospective purpose of the "toolbox".