Successfully overcoming various construction challenges, Coop Himmelb(l)au's steel and glass Musée des Confluences was just completed in Lyon, France. The science center and anthropology museum welcomed its first visitors with a spacious foyer and a gorgeous spiraling ramp that connects it to the exhibition spaces upstairs.
The entrance of the building is a drop-shaped structure referencing the confluence of the two streams where the building sits on the rivers Rhône and Saône. The exhibition areas are located in the ‘Cloud,’ which was designed without supports. Two auditoriums can accommodate 372 and 122 spectators respectively, while the workspaces can be used by surrounding schools.
The Crystal – a central, glass-rich form that acts as an entrance for the building – performs like an urban square, receiving visitors and preparing them for the museum experience. The Cloud resembles an immense spaceship and comprises ten exhibition spaces on three levels, with an additional upper level of administrative offices. 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. The structure is enveloped in 3mm-thick stainless steel plates that have been blasted with glass beads. Thanks to its finishing, the surface has a subtle reflection.
Images by Duccio Malagamba