Libraries are like the Madonnas of the architectural world—changing, evolving, and morphing with the times. Now they're in the midst of a technological reinvention. And as they shed their physical media and go digital, libraries' most significant contribution to a community is often not as a repository of books—but a beacon that draws people together.
Thionville—a city in Northeastern France near the Luxembourg border—opened a new library last year that embodies this shift. Designed by the Strasbourg-based firm Dominique Coulon and Associates, the space is brimming with details designed to foster a sense of community. The architects hope it becomes the city's collective living room; to appeal to the different types of people who might use the library, they filled it with lots of unique moments, like rooms that have distinctive personalities, differing furniture, and plenty of outdoor spaces.