Lyon established as architectural centre with Jakob + MacFarlane's ‘Le Cube Orange’
The historical French town of Lyon is slowly making a name for itself as home to some of the country’s most expressive and adventurous architecture, as five collaborating practices complete ‘The Monolith’, Patriarche & Co present commercial building ‘Genzyme’ and now Jakob + MacFarlane unveil ‘Le Cube Orange’ as part of a refreshing redevelopment project at Lyon Docks.
Undeniably arresting, ‘Le Cube Orange’ won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but its punctuated double-facade is making a strong architectural statement at a site where only generic warehouses once stood. Developed by Voies Naviguables de France (VNF) with Caisse des Dépôts and Sem Lyon Confluence, the 6,300 sq m commercial facility acts as the headquarters for real estate development firm Cardinal Group and as a Design Showroom for RBC.
Based on the simple form of an orthogonal cube, ‘Le Cube Orange’ has been constructed using concrete pillars on five levels; the solid structure sports an immense cavity in its river-facing facade from which employees can enjoy spectacular views across Lyon, la Fourvière and Lyon-Confluence. A light facade is perforated with seemingly random gaps which direct light into the commercial office space, enhancing user satisfaction and building effectiveness.
Jakob + MacFarlane explains how the practice: “worked with a series of volumetric perturbations, linked to the subtraction of three ‘conic’ volumes disposed on three levels: the angle of the facade, the roof and the level of entry. These perturbations generate spaces and relations between the building, its users and the light supply, inside a common office programme.”
In a key reference to the location’s historical context, the exterior of this daring complex has been painted in a dusky orange hue – an industrial colour often used for harbour zones. Views from inside the building’s cavities frame the surrounding natural elements, such as the river and picturesque hills, placing the focus on the environment rather than the original dockland industry.