Saturday, September 10, 2016

Musée des Confluences in Lyon, France (2001/2010-2014)

By: Gzng Sedeeq

Right from the 2001 international competition for a natural history museum in Lyon, the museum was envisioned as a "medium for the transfer of knowledge" and not as a showroom for products.

The building ground of the museum is located on a peninsula that was artificially extended 100 years ago and situated in the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers. Even though it was apparent that this site would be a difficult one (536 piles had to be securely driven 30 meters into the ground), it was clear that this location would be very important for the urban design. The building should serve as a distinctive beacon and entrance for the visitors approaching from the South, as well as a starting point for urban development.

In order to build a museum of knowledge, a complex new form had to be developed as an iconic gateway. A building that truly stands out can only come into being through shapes resulting from new geometries. It was important to the concept that the flow of visitors arriving from the city to the Pointe du Confluent should not be impeded by a building. The idea was therefore to develop an openly traversable building that would be floating in part only on supports, in order to create a public space underneath.

Essentially, the building consists of three parts. Situated on a slightly raised base (due to the high groundwater), two auditoriums (for 327 and 122 persons, respectively) and work spaces, which will also be used for training purposes for the surrounding schools, will be located next to storage and workshops for the production of exhibitions.

The entrance building, the so-called Crystal, is openly traversable, and a vertical access to the exhibition spaces. The so-called Espace liant, a connecting path, can be reached by an escalator, a staircase, and a spiral ramp. Left and right of this path are arranged the individual exhibition halls (one of them two-level), and at the end is a view of the confluence of two rivers, the Pointe du Confluent. The steel structure, conceived as a bridge construction, made it possible to develop all of the exhibition halls without supports. The administration rooms are located above the exhibition spaces.

In the Plaza below this highly raised, almost flying component – the showrooms are broadly cantilevered in parts – the lit wave pattern of the surface of a small lake is reflected on the underside of the building. A brasserie emphasizes the public nature of this place. A freely accessible terrace café is located on the top floor.

In the entrance building, a drop-shaped construction serves as supporting structure. Its form was developed out of the turbulent flow created by the confluence of the two streams. This gravity well reduces the weight of the entire steel structure of the entrance building by a third.

Project data

SITE AREA:                                 20,975 m²
GROSS FLOOR AREA:                 46,476 m²
NET FLOOR AREA:                      26,700 m²
FOOTPRINT:                                  9,300 m²
CONSTRUCTION COSTS:          € 3,980 / m² / total € 185 Mio

VOLUMES (V)                     total 195,206 m³
Base (incl. Brasserie)                     59,436
Crystal / Foyer                              25,770
Cloud / Exhibition space              110,000 m³

Length:                                              190 m
Width:                                                  90 m
Height:                                                 41 m

2 auditoriums with 327 and 122 seats
working rooms for classes, conference and meeting rooms,
storage, workshops, HVACR, logistics, group entrance
brasserie on top (publicly accessible)

Main entrance, foyer, librairie / shop

9 Exhibition rooms                                     
Level 1: temporary exhibitions (5 rooms) + public ateliers for workshops
Level 2: permanent collections (4 rooms) + public ateliers for workshops
Level 3: administration
Roof top café (publicly accessible)

Competition:                                                     2001
Preliminary design / Design development:          2002-2004
1. Tender / Dialog Competitive:                          2004-2006
Construction phase 1 (pile foundation):              2006-2007
Stop of construction:                                        2007-2009
2. Tender / Execution design:                             2009-2010
Construction phase 2:                                        2010-2014
Completion:                                                      12/2014

Technical Description

Environmental concept

The foyer (Crystal) is a naturally ventilated space. The supply air enters via glazed ventilation flaps inside the east facade while the exhaust air exits via the roof area. It is therefore unnecessary to use a traditional air conditioning system. Only the main access areas and workspaces are microclimatic units whose comfort is ensured through local heating and cooling systems. The floors are cooled via ground water. This will result in significant energy savings for the museum’s foyer in the long term.
In terms of thermal insulation, the facades of the exhibition area (Cloud) are characterized by an extremely efficient building shell. All of the main access areas are illuminated naturally (not much artificial light); the water supply of the sanitation areas is provided through the ground water. A photovoltaic system is installed on the roof.


The base is designed as a reinforced concrete structure with exposed concrete walls.

Foyer / “Crystal”:
A tubular lattice with a rectangular profile of 400 x 200 mm forms the primary support of the Crystal. It rests on the concrete structures of the base and the main supporting structure of the Cloud. The center of the Crystal is occupied by the Puits de gravité, which continues the primary support and plays the role of a major support element that diverts all forces. It reduces the weight of the entry building’s entire steel construction by a third.
The secondary support structure carries the large glass panels. It consists of steel tubing arranged in the grid of the glass panels. It is connected to the primary support structure via struts made of tubes that are screwed to panels welded to the primary supports.
Blinds between the primary and secondary supporting structure protect the most sun-exposed areas and also reduce noise.  
The glass consists of single-glazed panels with extra-clear glass.
A large amount of glazed, openable windows in the different areas of the Crystal provide natural ventilation. They can be opened through a motor. Additional deeper and higher openings can provide smoke extraction in case of fire. The four different entry sequences consist of large glass doors. The main entrance has a large canopy that is connected to the primary support structure and clad with metal sheets, like the Cloud. 

Exhibition area / “Cloud”:
The Cloud’s structural system resembles a bridge structure. It rests on 12 concrete supports and three concrete towers that contain the emergency stairs and shafts. Room-high steel frameworks form the walls of the black boxes for permanent and temporary exhibitions.  
The outer skin of the Cloud consists of 3-mm stainless steel plates that have been blasted with glass beads. This special surface treatment results in a gentle reflection of the light and colors of the surrounding area.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

“Pavilion 21 MINI Opera Space”, Munich, Germany (2008-2010)

Gzng Sedeeq

Study: 02/2008
Start of Planning: 10/2009
Start of Construction: 04/2010
Opening: 06/2010

Site area: 1,790 m²
Gross area: 560 m²
Net area: 430 m²
Footprint: 560
Height: 12.5 m
Length: 38.5 m
Width: 25.5 m

The Pavilion  was created as temporary mobile space for experimental performances of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. The dismountable construction offers place for 300 sitting or 700 standing spectators and can transported in normal freight containers.
Its modular construction makes it possible to re-mount the pavilion on any site or different urban structures and to adapt it to the particular needs.

Mass and therefore weight are the decisive criteria for good acoustics. The conception of the Pavilion 21 MINI Opera Space therefore had to overcome a contradiction: to design a lightweight construction which must allow to be dis- and re-assembled quickly, but which at the same time meets the acoustical requirements of a concert hall.
Hence how do you create the conditions for good acoustics despite a reduction of mass? Already the first considerations fixed in drawings show the basic idea of the Pavilion to introduce architectural elements which are on the one hand the spatial transformation of sound sequences, and which on the other hand develop sound reflecting and absorbing properties through their pyramid-like shape: “Soundscaping”.

Acoustics & Sounds aping

The strategy to achieve soundscaping comprises three steps: Firstly, to realize the shielding effect between square and street, secondly, to shape the geometry of the Pavilion in such a way that the surface deflects noise, and thirdly, to design the surface of the Pavilion in such a way that it reflects and absorbs sound.

In cooperation with the London based acoustic consultant Arup acoustic pyramids have been developed for the façade, which rise in all directions and – thanks to their special geometry – absorb and reflect the street noise to create a ‘zone of silence’. Beside this function the pyramids also have an effect on the vibration of the structural elements and therefore on the acoustic in the concert hall.

The design of the pyramids resulted from the abstraction of music into spatial form. As a starting point, a sequence from the song “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix and a passage from “Don Giovanni” by Mozart were transcribed. Through the analysis of frequency sections from these pieces of music and in combination with the computer generated 3D model, the sequences are translated into pyramidal “spike constructions” by means of parametric “scripting”. Music becomes space.

The idea to combine architecture with music is not new. Also the term soundscaping is not new. Similar to landscaping it involves “Gestalt”. Soundscaping originates in the 1940’s and designates a method of composing. In architecture, Le Corbusier and Iannis Xenakis together engaged in the topic of music and architecture when they thought about three-dimensional implementation of musical compositions (Le Corbusier’s Philips Pavilion and the partition of the windows in La Tourette).

Light Installation

Towards the street and the Marstall square the outer shell is detached from the tilted double-layer façade and opens an interstitial space that offers a weather-protected lounge and bar area. The accessible, crystal-like double skin – the transcribed music –forms a transitional space from the plaza to the entrance and into the main performance space. A folded and cantilevered roof emphasizes the main entrance.

The architectural design of the inner space is complemented and enhanced by an installation in the lounge developed by cat-x. The complex multiple projection not only illuminates the interior of the lounge, but interacts with the sounds from the concert hall.  These light movements change the perception of the space, so that the architecture seems to move.