This fantastically bright orange cube on the banks of the Saône River in Lyon, France may look like a giant toddler's toy, but it's actually an office and cultural center designed to showcase architecture and design and help invigorate the docks of the river. A giant hole cuts through the orthogonal, 5-story building, opening the center up with daylighting, views and natural ventilation. Designed by Paris-based Jakob + Macfarlane, Le Cube Orange is also energy efficient and relies on a water-based geothermal heat pump and photovoltaic panels on the roof.
The building serves as the headquarters for the Cardinal Group, a real estate development firm, as well as the Design Showroom RBC. The intention of the project was to combine a showroom dedicated to the world of design objects inside the architecture of a fantastic building and create an experience along the banks of the river. Orange was chosen as the color for the building as a reference to the industrial color commonly used in harbors. A giant void in the building is created by subtracting three ‘conic’ volumes, which generate interesting spaces, daylighting and views of the river.
Most of the building is covered in a perforated facade that acts as a shade screen minimizing direct sun on the interior. Energy efficiency is maximized with this screen and all of the offices enjoy natural daylighting. A geothermal heat pump with heat recovery provides energy efficient heating and cooling, making use of the relatively constant temperatures of the nearby river. Then, a photovoltaic system on the roof provides 10% of the building’s electricity needs.
Images ©Nicolas Borel/Jakob + Macfarlane