Musée des Confluences
Coop Himmelb(l)au

April 02, 2012 /

Lyon, France

Image © Coop Himmelb(l)au

The Musée des Confluences is situated directly on the convergence of the river Rhone and the river Saone at the fringe of an industrial area about to be restructured in Lyon.

The concept of two complexly connected architectural units are a result of the striking interface-like situation of the building site. The crystal rising towards the side of the town is conceived as an urban forum and entrance hall for visitors. Its shape that can be read clearly stands for the everyday world. In contrast to this the cloud hides the knowledge about the future; it is a soft space of hidden streams and countless transitions.

Photo © Hubert Canet, Balloïde Photo

The future society will be a society of knowledge. However this knowledge can hardly be split into clearly defined fields.

Innovations develop within interspaces, within indistinctness, within the overlapping and hybridising. Questions regarding the future will be decided within transitional fields situated between technology, biology and ethics that are the central themes of the Musée des Confluences.

Mutations of form, penetrations, deformations, simultaneities, breakdowns and variabilities have an effect on architecture. The resulting architecture is characterised by the interactions, the fusion and mutation of different entities constituting a new shape.   

The Musée des Confluences does not consider itself as an exclusive temple for the intellectual bourgeoisie but as a public place providing access to the knowledge of our age. Stimulating a direct and active use, it is not only a museum site but also a venue in town. The architecture hybridises the typology of a museum with the typology of an urban leisure space.

/Coop Himmelb(l)au

Image ©

musee_des_confluences_4.jpgImage ©

musee_des_confluences_5.jpgImage ©

Within the Musée des Confluences the present and the future, the known and the still unknown are conceived as a spatial arrangement trying to "spur public curiosity." As an extension of the park located on the Southern top of the island a new urban space formulates itself; a landscape consisting of ramps and surfaces merging the inside and the outside and resulting in a dynamic sequence of spatial events.

This movement is also followed by the alternating spatial structure of the exhibition halls.

Closed Black Boxes and free exhibition areas alternate by exploiting the double room height of two levels. The architecture is as changeable as the content entrusted.

Image © Coop Himmelb(l)au

Image © Coop Himmelb(l)au

Image ©

The idea of the permanent reinvention of an urban event enables Lyon to perfectly position itself within a regional as well as within a global context.

Drawing courtesy Coop Himmelb(l)auSite Plan
Drawing courtesy Coop Himmelb(l)auPlan Level 3.91
Drawing courtesy Coop Himmelb(l)au
Plan Level 22.78

Drawing courtesy Coop Himmelb(l)auLongitudinal Section
Drawing courtesy Coop Himmelb(l)auCross Section
Drawing courtesy Coop Himmelb(l)au
Crystal Circulation

Facts about Musée des Confluences

Site Area:

20,975 m2
Net Floor Area: 26,700 m2
Gross Floor Area: 46,476 m2

Competition (1st Prize): 2001
Scheduled Completion: 2014

Client represented by: SERL, Lyon, France


Wolf D. Prix, Helmut Swiczinsky + Partner

Project Partner:

Markus Prossnigg

Project Architects:

Mona Bayr, Angus Schoenberger

Project Coordination:

Thomas Margaretha, Peter Grell

Local Architect:

Planning: Patriarche & Co
Execution: MESA Workshop

Project Managerment:

Chabanne & Partenaires

Construction Survey Lyon:

Jean Pierre Debray

Structural Engineering (Design):

B+G Ingenieure, Bollinger und Grohmann GmbH
Structural Engineering (Executive): Coyne et Bellier VS_A


ITEE-Fluides, Arnas

Security Fire Consultation:

Cabinet Casso & Cie


Cabinet Lamoureux

Media Consulation:

Cabinet Labeyrie

Lighting Consultation:

Har Hollands

Landscape Design:

EGIS aménagement


Département du Rhône

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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