River Saône: Lyon, Architecture

It is impossible to miss the green Euro News building along the Saône waterfront in La Confluence.

The history of any city can be told in part through its buildings. In Lyon remnants of the work of the Romans, the first devoted civic builders to occupy the land near the confluence of the Saône and Rhône rivers, remain up the hill above the old quarter, Vieux Lyon. Between the Roman era and today, many buildings have been constructed in many different styles.

In some cities (London comes to mind) the new comingles with the old. In Lyon the building styles are more segregated; they tend to run with the districts. It’s no surprise that the oldest buildings are found in the most historic areas of town like Vieux Lyon. Inventive modern architecture has its own zones, having often sprouting mostly emphatically in places where urban renewal is active.

The older waterfront buildings upstream of Vieux Lyon.

Modern apartment buildings along the port in La Confluence

In Lyon, La Confluence, the district where Wanderlust moored during her stay, is in the midst of a building boom. The old abandoned warehouses are being removed, which is a tad sad as even the newly old industrial buildings can have interesting character. On the upside numerous attractive new, modern buildings have replaced the warehouses and industrial buildings. Generally the stylistic choices made in Lyon are good, in our uninformed opinion.

As always with ultra modern architecture, there are some new buildings that I like and some that I don’t. It often only becomes clear which ones are which after time. I may not think I “like” a building, but I can’t help but look at it. And I can’t help taking a picture each time I pass by.

It’s green!

Nearby the “Orange Cube” is, well, orange.

The modern architecture in Lyon is not to the same standard of other worldly Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències (“City of Arts and Sciences”) in Valencia. Valencia’s ultra modern development is more cohesively themed, more futuristic, and less utilitarian. At the same time I suspect that unlike Valencia’s ultra futuristic development, Lyon’s wave of new buildings are not going to bankrupt the region.

In any event looking at buildings is free entertainment, as long as you have the time. Time is money, after all. And it may take a lot of time. Lyon is large enough that exploring the diverse architecture is a multiple day affair. Exploring by bike makes it is easier to pop from building to building. It also lets one discover things by accident. You never know what you are going to find when you explore. And that’s the point.

Planners have kept La Sucrière, a sugar warehouse from the 1930’s, intact.

Architects Jakob + MacFarlane are responsible for both the Orange Cube and the Euro News buildings.

Interestingly the windows on this building show the view from the roof before the Orange Cube or Euro News buildings were constructed.

Le Monolithe

Details of the parking garage at the Bocuse market

Modern apartment buildings in La Confluence

The green eye

The Euro News building is eye catching.

It is hard to miss a green building.


3 thoughts on “River Saône: Lyon, Architecture

  1. The green and the orange are like carbunkles on the landscape , looking long term what condition will they be like in100 years ? Old style 1900 buildings still look elegent today they have a timeless warm feeling , yet modern buildings look cold and stark plus its doubtful if they will still be standing in a 100 years.. Love your travels more on the boat problems please and if all sorted out now. not seen the hole cut to get at the leaky tanks yet have I missed a posting.

  2. Pingback: The Rhône: Vienne | Wanderlust

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