Projects    Texts    Profile    News    Contact



Location: Lyon, France
Year: 2001

In ancient cities, gates marked the symbolic point of arrival. In the industrial Age, these gates took on functional significance with the great glass and iron railroad termini that announced one’s arrival in a city. Today the car and the airplane are the primary means of arrival, but the autoroute and the airport are not the gates of the past. Now that these termini have been largely replaced by virtual terminals, by the computer and the Internet, there is a need to mark places of arrival and departure in real space and time. Our project therefore is more than a functional museum. It is also a symbol of entry and departure for Lyon; a virtual gate, a water terminus, and an object responding to the natural flows of its site. 

Arriving in Lyon from the south, one is greeted by the building at the confluence of the Rhône and the Saône rivers. It stands like the prow of a ship plying the two waters or, from another view, as if it is being driven apart by the current of each river. From every bridge, the building appears differently in space and time.

Our project is not a simple tower but rather a gridded zone that lifts off the ground, bifurcating and enfolding as it moves upward, generating in its warped forms an object that is neither figure nor ground, tower nor slab, but a melding of the two. The forms of the building begin in a horizontal orthogonal girded mat that is distorted by the flows of the rivers as they merge, forcing the may upward, like a waterspout. The detail of the towers recalls the musculature and ligaments of Leonardo’s anatomical drawings. The structural exoskeleton of the east tower warps to the veining of glass and solid that allows for illumination at night. The west tower appears more sinuous and opaque on the exterior.



Model photos