Winning competition entry for two libraries on the Jussieu campus in Paris
In the award winning scheme for two libraries at Jussieu, a technical university in Paris, OMA radically reconfigures the typical library layout. Rather than stacking one level on top of another, floor planes are manipulated to connect; thus forming a single trajectory - much like an interior boulevard that winds its way through the entire building.
The implantation of the new library represents the insertion of a new core, which should at the same time resuscitate the original significance of Albert's project.

However beautiful, Albert's campus is windy, cold and empty. Rather than being a singular building it is a network. Its endlessness psychologically exhausts in advance of any attempt to 'inhabit' it. Intended as the essence of the campus, the pedestrian parvis is experienced as a residual, a mere slice of void sandwiched between sockle and building.

To reassert its credibility, we imagine the surface of the parvis as pliable: a social magic carpet. We fold it to form a stack of platforms, which is then enclosed to become a building, which may be read as the culmination of the Jussieu network.

These new surfaces - a vertical, intensified landscape - are then 'urbanized' almost like a city: the specific elements of the libraries are reimplanted in the new public realm like buildings in a city. Instead of a simple stacking of one floor on top of the other, sections of each floor are manipulated to connect with those above and below.

In this way a single trajectory traverses the entire structure like a warped interior Boulevard. The visitor becomes a Baudelairean flaneur, inspecting and being seduced by a world of books and information and the urban scenario.

Through its scale and variety, the effect of the inhabited planes becomes almost that of a street, a theme which influences the interpretation and planning of the Boulevard as part of a system of further supra-programmatic urban elements in the interior: plazas, parks, monumental staircases, cafes, shops.
Two libraries and student facilities at the Jussieu University campus in Paris

Ministere de l`Education Nationale et de la Culture, Academie de Paris



Competition, 1st place


Paris, France

Universite Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6eme and Universite Denis Diderot-Paris 7eme, the Jussieu campus of the Sorbonne, on the left bank near the Boulevard St.Germain and the Seine, built in early 1960's by Albert, yet never completed

Humanities library (8,000m2), science and research library (10,000m2), student facilities (4,000m2)


Steel column grid and concrete slabs, glass shingle facade




Cecil Balmond (structural), Rory McGowan (structural), Crispin Matson (mechanical), Sean Billings (façade), Coyne Bellier

Program consultants:

Jean Attali

Daan Bakker, Rene Heijne, Ad Kliphuis, Markus Lüscher, Gijs Niemeyer, Stein Vossen, Ronald Wall

Partner in charge:
Rem Koolhaas

Competition team
Christophe Cornubert, Xaveer de Geyter, Rene Heijne, Markus Röthlisberger, Yushi Uehara with Hernando Arrazola, Siebe Bakker, Gary Bates, Gro Bonesmo, Arjen de Groot, Jerry Kopare, Markus Lüscher, Peter Oudshoorn, Jacob van Rijs, Roland Stuy

Design development:
Rem Koolhaas, Christophe Cornubert, Anne Mie Depuydt, Rene Heijne, Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, with Matthis Bauer, Frans Blok, Partcik Cosmao, Michael Hsu, Ray Maggiore

L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui #286, 04/93
El Croquis: Rem Koolhaas/O.M.A. 1987/1992 #53, 1992