Brest, France Designed by Kanal Architects


A historic and industrial building turned into a modern and unique library for the city of Brest in France. For Brest, the Media Library of the Capucins is a piece of history and is now ready for the future with its modern design and choice of furniture – ready to offer a cultural experience when going to a library.

The city of Brest was provided with a new media library in 2016. Back in the days the building was a steel workshop for the French military fleet. The architectural studio’s ambition was to keep the industrial past of the building and make it suitable as a public library that is accessible with a unique cable railway. The architect considers his role as someone who transmits the history of the past by giving the building a new future. The most spectacular way to discover this building is from the cable railway that is connected from the city directly to the main entrance of the library. It allows you to see the whole building and its 10.000 m2 which is a beautiful sight. The building is composed of stones and has huge steel doors which brings back memories from the ancient history from when it was a steel workshop.

Inside, the visitor can experience the industrial past of the building with its high ceilings and the beautiful detailed steel construction. Still, the focus has been to make visitors feel confidence and welcomed in the library. The building is made of few materials such as steel, rubber for the flooring, concrete for the structure and the walls - with natural patterns made by the wood used for the formwork. The VIA57™ chair gives a welcoming feeling to the large spaces, and the Caravaggio™ lamps give an intimate light and hangs in lines that are true to the lines of the many bookshelves. The key arguments for choosing the furniture were minimalism, comfort, design and strength.