News: work has started on the Bibliothèque Multimédia à Vocation Régionale (BMVR) - an X-shaped public library designed by OMA for the old port area of Caen, northern France (+ slideshow).
When completed in 2016 the library will house 150,000 books, with each of the four arms of the building dedicated to a different subject matter.
Arts books will be housed in the north-eastern arm, science and technology in the north west, humanities in the south east and literature in the south west.
“This library is a symbol of the lateral thinking of the twenty-first century," said Clement Blanchet, OMA associate-in-charge. "Its form is based on an almost primitive action: two lines crossing, generating a centrality, which groups four polarities."
He added: "It is an agora of ideas, a place that might reinforce the role of books in an increasingly digitised world.”
The 13,000-square-metre building will feature a ground floor lobby that will serve as a public plaza, connecting the city's waterfront and park.
The library is part of a wider project to revitalise Caen's old industrial waterfront. It is sited opposite the future Tribunal de Grande Instance and in the middle of the new urban masterplan zone.
The library will link four landmarks in the city: l'Abbaye aux Hommes, l'Abbaye aux Dames, the train station and a new urban development.
OMA has won three major competitions in France in the last couple of years: the Parc des Expositions in Toulouse; the École Centrale in Saclay, outside of Paris; and the Begles Villenave masterplan in Bordeaux.
The firm is also on the shortlist for a competition to design a pedestrian bridge in Bordeaux.
All images are copyright OMA.