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The Musée des Confluences understands itself not as an exclusive “Temple of the Muses” for the educated elite, but as a public gateway to the knowledge of our time. It stimulates a direct, active use—not only as a place of contemplation, but also as a meeting place in the city.

Musee des Confluences
Photo © Duccio Malagamba
The striking interface situation of the construction site at the eponymous confluence of the Rhône and the Saône inspired the superposition in urban space of two complexly linked architectural units, crystal and cloud.
Musee des Confluences
Photo © Quentin Lafont
The cloud structure, floating on pillars, contains a spatial sequence of black boxes— admitting no daylight, so as to achieve maximum flexibility for exhibition design. By contrast, the crystal, rising towards the city side, functions as a transparent urban forum; it faces the city and receives visitors.Musee des ConfluencesAlso decisive in the selection of this concept was the manifold connection of these two units through the Espace Liant: It leads in a loop, as a corridor or over bridges and catwalks, from the crystal to the other end of the cloud.
Musee des Confluences
Photo © Duccio Malagamba
It functions as an additional means of access between the exhibition spaces that are directly connected to one another—a mellow space of hidden currents and countless transitions.
Musee des Confluences
Photo © Duccio Malagamba
In a continuation of the park from the southern tip of the island, an expansion of the urban space is formulated: a landscape of ramps and levels that dissolve the boundary between inside and outside into a dynamic sequence of spatial events. This movement continues on the inside in the alternating spatial structure of the exhibition spaces.Musee des ConfluencesHard Space – Soft SpaceThe Crystal performs like an urban square, receiving visitors and preparing them for the museum experience. It is oriented toward the world in which we daily evolve; its contours are precise; its form is crystalline and measurable. This crystalline nature results from its glass-and-steel construction.
Musee des Confluences
Photo © Duccio Malagamba
Large panes of glass are mounted in steel frames: assemblages that, by virtue of being resistant to flexion, make the various folded surfaces seem reflective. The Gravity Well —a central element— provide a refrain both to the structural efforts and to the luminous sculpture.Musee des ConfluencesThe Cloud, by contrast, resembles an immense spaceship, stowed temporarily in present time and place, its deep entrails harboring the exhibition spaces. There are ten exhibition spaces on three levels, as well as an upper level of administrative offices.
Musee des Confluences
Photo © Quentin Lafont
Three of the galleries are intended for permanent exhibitions; the seven others are for temporary exhibitions. An interstitial open space, named “Connecting Space,” traverses all these spaces and weaves a network of traffic between them to serve museography. Source by COOP HIMMELB(L)AU.Musee des ConfluencesLocation: Lyon, FranceArchitects: COOP HIMMELB(L)AUDesign Principal: Wolf D. Prix
Project Partner: Markus Prossnigg
Project Architects: Mona Bayr, Angus Schoenberger
Design Architect: Tom Wiscombe
Project Coordination: Thomas Margaretha, Peter Grell
Project Team Vienna: Christopher Beccone, Guy Bébié, Lorenz Bürgi, Wolfgang Fiel, Kai Hellat, Robert Haranza, Alex Jackson, Georg Kolmayr, Daniel Kerbler, Lucas Kulnig, Andreas Mieling, Marianna Milioni, Daniel Moral, Jutta Schädler, Andrea Schöning, Mario Schwary, Markus Schwarz, Oliver Tessmann, Dionicio Valdez, Philipp Vogt, Markus Wings, Christoph Ziegler
Project Team Lyon: Patrick Lhomme, Francois Texier, Philippe Folliasson, Etienne Champenois, Alexandru Gheorghe, Niels Hiller, Emanuele Iacono, Pierre-Yves Six
Local Architects: Planning: Patriarche & Co, Chambéry/Lyon, France
Execution: Tabula Rasa / Grégory Perrin, Lyon, France
Project Managerment: Chabanne & Partenaires, Lyon, France
Construction Survey Lyon: Debray Ingénierie, Caluire et Cuire, France
Costs: Mazet & Associés, Paris, France / CUBIC, Lyon, France
Structural Engineering: Design: B+G Ingenieure, Bollinger und Grohmann GmbH, Frankfurt, Germany
Executive: Coyne et Bellier, Lyon, France / VS_A, Lille, France
HVAC: ITEE-Fluides, Arnas, France
Security Fire Consultation: Cabinet Casso & Cie, Paris, France
Acoustics: Cabinet Lamoureux, Paris, France
Media Consulation: Cabinet Labeyrie, Paris, France
Lighting Consultation: Har Hollands, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Landscape Design: EGIS aménagement, Lyon, France
Area: 20,975 m2
Year: 2014
Client: Conseil Géneral du Rhône
Photographs: Quentin Lafont, Duccio MalagambaMusee des ConfluencesMusee des ConfluencesMusee des ConfluencesMusee des ConfluencesMusee des ConfluencesMusee des ConfluencesMusee des Confluences

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