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RubberGard EPDM plays architectural role in new media library in France

In the last few years, the city of Courcelles-lès-Lens, in the north-east of France, has experienced significant demographic growth. To meet the needs of its citizens, in 2017 the town hall launched a competition to transform an abandoned former commercial space into a media library to replace the existing one, which had become too small.

Lille-based architecture agency ZITA! DAMIEN GUIOT ARCHITECTES-URBANISTES was chosen for this project for their unique roofing proposal. They imagined a roof made out of modules which recall the scale of the neighboring houses and make it possible to keep large spaces free of internal columns.

These 12 large modules (each of 8 x 8 m) are identical and oriented in different directions. Each module has windows on its highest side to flood the heart of the media library with light and provide views of the surrounding landscape. “We wanted to transform this former temple of consumption into a cathedral of luminous culture, taking the best of each other", explains the architect.

The modules are covered with Firestone’s RubberGard EPDM roofing membranes, which, beyond their primary waterproofing function, also play an essential architectural role. Their black color reveals the aesthetics of the sloping roofs that extend to become part of the facade. Contrasting with the red brick and glass of the building envelope, they participate in the architectural signature of the building. “This installation is very atypical. With just one solution, we were able to waterproof the roof but also the facade. It enabled the building owner to save money without compromising on quality or durability", underlines architect DAMIEN GUIOT.

Meticulous installation

The innovative approach of this project was one of its main challenges. The architect studio, the roofing company and Firestone collaborated closely together to validate all technical and regulatory aspects. Local Firestone-authorized roofing contractor DUBOIS COUVERTURES carried out a precise and careful installation, in particular down the facades and on the gutters. Close to its customers, Firestone supported the roofing company throughout the project. A dedicated technician was at their disposal to provide advice and to validate the installation onsite.

A total of 2,500 m² of RubberGard EPDM membranes were used on the media library, fully adhered to the substrate using Firestone’s bonding adhesive BA-2012. The flame-free installation method enabled a comfortable, safe and fast installation. The membrane used on the project had a thickness of 1.5 mm and a surface weight of 1.85 kg/m², which did not weigh down the roof structure and further facilitated the handling onsite.

Long lasting solution with minimal maintenance

Thanks to its black color, RubberGard EPDM limits the traces of visible dirt that could appear over time with rain. This is a real asset for this project, because the highest points of the roof of the media library are almost 9 m from the ground and cannot be cleaned too often. Maintenance interventions are therefore limited.

With a life expectancy of more than 50 years, RubberGard EPDM membranes have an excellent resistance to UV rays and ozone. Their elasticity, greater than 300%, is a guarantee of flexibility, allowing the membrane to accommodate the eventual movements of the building and the temperature fluctuations.