Ellena Mehl  Architectes : Bibliothèque L’Heure Joyeuse

What does it take more than a beautiful light filtered by an attractive facade to give children a taste for reading? Posted inside on the bleachers, readers of the L'Heure Joyeuse library in Paris (5th arrondissement) enjoy the familiar setting of the church and the park facing them. An atmosphere made possible by the architects of the Ellena Mehl Architects studio.

The Ellena Mehl architectural firm is led head-on by a duo of versatile architects, Hervé Ellena and Stéphanie Mehl. Their latest achievement, located rue des priests Saint-Séverin in the 5th arrondissement of the capital, reflects a work that does not betray their practice: realistic and sensitive.
They realize the standardization, the creation of accessibility and the redevelopment of spaces, and transform the complexity of the building into a real asset.


The “L'Heure Joyeuse” library, 452 square meters, is divided over the first two levels of a building from the 1970s. Its pleated facade takes up the structural elements of the time, which the architects transform into a light work, playful and bright. The new facade also includes the municipal crèche, separated from the library by a double entrance which forms a set of solids and voids. Visitors access the nursery's entrance courtyard through a perforated metal gate, while the library entrance is through the adjoining bay window.

The framework of the building's superstructure is reinterpreted by the astonishing “faceting” of the window designed by the duo. As close as possible to the pedestrian street overlooking the Saint-Séverin church and its park, the library finds clear communication with its urban environment.
The triangulation of the windows plays oblique and resumes its original contours, lightened and stretched to allow the reading spaces to be immersed in natural light. From the outside, we can guess the acoustic ceiling and its suspended diamond-shaped elements that decorate the ground floor with unexpected but reassuring reliefs. The bleachers, which are grafted to the facade from the inside, constitute another organic element of the architecture that small and large appropriate for the readings and events.

On this peaceful square in the heart of the street, reading in the middle of passers-by will no longer make you tick!

Project title : L'Heure Joyeuse Library, youth library
City, Country: Paris (5e)
Owner: City of Paris
Mastery of work : Ellena Mehl Architects
Area : 452 m² SDP
Cost of works: € 550 excl. Tax: library work and € 000 excl. Tax: library work + crèche
Calendar : 2019 delivery

To learn more, visit the site of Ellena Mehl Architectes

Photographs: Courtesy of Ellena Mehl Architects

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