At the confluence of the Rhône and Saône, the museum is situated at the heart of a monumental structure, conceived by Coop Himmelb(l)au – the only project completed in France by this Austrian agency known for its architecture of the deconstructivist school.
An architecture based on confluences
When glass Crystal met stainless steel Cloud, the architecture of the musée des Confluences was born, inspired by the two converging bodies of water at its feet. Beneath its 33 metres of glasswork, the Crystal functions as an urban space: a space devoted to where the general public comes in and to the circulation of visitors, a place of encounter and exchange. Over an area of 1,900 square metres, bathed in external daylight, the visitors prepare themselves to visit the museum. At its centre, the Gravity Well, an architectural tour de force, carries the whole of the structure and swirls as if caught between the two rivers. The visitor is then invited on a journey through the Cloud, constructed as a large vessel of approximately 11,000 square metres which, under its stainless steel cover, contains the treasures of the museum: the rooms dedicated to its permanent and temporary exhibits. When we finally reach the roof, we enjoy an unrivalled view of Lyon and its river confluence. The whole is carried by a platform accessible to the general public: a place to stroll around a pool of water shining against stainless steel, arousing curiosity in a landscape of ramps and inclined planes which lead it to the garden: 24,400 square meters of green spaces and paths to the point where the rivers meet.