Digital library / INSA Lyon
Technical sheet

Digital library / INSA Lyon


Cosmic Position

"The project? An idea forged by its context," summarizes Michel Rémon. It was in this spirit that he made the media library of the National Institute for Applied Sciences in Lyon, a landmark for the La Doua university campus. It thus became the "gateway" to the vast scientific domain it is part of.

A rallying point at the intersection of streets along the tramway line, the new building is located within the orthogonal grid laid out by Jacques Perrin-Fayolle a few decades earlier.

The functional hierarchy organizes the parallelepipedal construction into three bays within the north-south depth of the building.

This layout guarantees short distances between each element of the program. The generous reception area on the south surprises the eye with its cantilevered porch, a slab of "raised material" that invites entry into the vestibule, amphitheater, administration offices and training rooms. In the center, a service structure houses technical facilities and vertical circulation. Passing through it ritualizes the entrance into the silence of the "chapel of knowledge". The very strong inner life of this small, compact cube then comes to full expression. Leaving behind the tumult, the visitor discovers an atrium that leads to three floors of reading rooms by way of a sumptuous spiral staircase. Arranged around a large empty space, these three strata receive a uniform amount of natural light, which is captured by a large sawtooth roof to the north and by the façades. Beams and pillars give rhythm to the space, thanks to the floors and aprons which house cables and avoid the need for suspended ceilings.

Visual and thermal comfort, in compliance with environmental criteria, is ensured by the façades. To the west, south and east, they are fitted with terracotta shingles that nuance the light with a very particular softness.

"A place of life for the entire campus, the media library won the 2012 Accessibility Trophy."


To watch : Interview with Michel REMON on the inauguration of the INSA Lyon library in April 2010

Fiche Technique

New-build / Public operation

National Institute for Applied Sciences, Lyon (INSA)

Construction cost
€ 12 million, excluding tax

Net floor area
5 213 m²

2002 – 2009 


Amphitheaters (134 seats), consultation rooms, administration offices, preparation rooms.

Team members

Architect in charge
Atelier d’Architecture Michel Rémon

Lightning design
Coup d’éclat

Engineer and Economist




Pictures: Anne-Claude Barbier