Friday, 26 October 2012

La Confluence, Lyon: marvel or monstrosity?

La Confluence is an area just south of the city centre of Lyon where the city's two rivers, the Saône and the Rhône, meet. It used to be an industrial centre but the end of the 1900s witnessed its decline, to the point where it was decided to completely redevelop the area in order to double the size of the city centre's shopping, office and residential capacity.

The result is the resolutely modern and spacious urban development scheme you see below. It comprises dozens of shops, restaurants, cinemas and other amenities both inside and around a sprawling commercial complex, the Regional Council now has a rather swish home there, and there are many colourful apartment buildings as well as a marina which will be fully operational next Summer.

Condemned as a monstrosity by some, worshipped as a view into the future of cities by others, it now attracts thousands of visitors weekly and the m² price of apartments there is very high although some of the housing capacity has been reserved for social housing, as the law stipulates must be the case for all new urban developments in France. Construction in this part of the city is set to continue for a few more years and it even has its own website.

For those interested in learning more about how it was designed and built and its eco-friendly aspects (low energy consumption, materials used etc) here's a fairly informative video (in French..)

The marina is overlooked by apartment buildings on one side...

...and access to the commercial centre on the other.

Apartments on the fashionable theme of shipping containers

I hope nobody was in when it hit!

I built a building just like this when I was a kid. Using Lego.

The Regional Council building

Updated Sixties-style colours and design

Not an architect's artist's impression

So, monstrosity or marvel?

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