An OAB Company

EMH Headquarters in Villeurbanne



Lyon, France



Between a natural environment, close to the metropolitan park and the Jonage canal, and its social roots linked to work and industry, Villeurbanne has drawn the Carré de la Soie, a neighborhood linked to the suburban fabric of the almond designed by the urban planner Bruno Dumetier. One of the last urban spaces to be created, the Place Miriam Makéba, intermodal gateway to the district, houses several tertiary buildings, including this headquarters of the metropolitan social housing company Est Métropole Habitat, which completes the ensemble.

Its volumetric strategy reflects on the scale of the block the spirit of the urban sequence in the great landscape from the canal to the square, truffled with solids and voids that intertwine the city from east to west. The project is attentive to this double scale and integrates a cross section that refers to the landscape and serves the rue de la Soie.

Project in collaboration with OAB, Peñín Arquitectos and Afaa Architecture.

InterioThe architectural approach conveys a certain timelessness, at once classic and contemporary, an accomplice of the industrial past of the site and of the metropolis (TASE, the Gratte ciels de Villeurbanne, Tony Garnier). The 1.35 grid of the offices, as in other projects of the studio in France, induces the rigor of an urban texture treated with dynamism and multiple variations that lighten the mass, and propose nuances and a certain ambiguity. This dilution of the limits is produced by emptying the corners of the triangle or the crown of the penthouse, both cut against the sky, by increasing the size of the openings in the R+1 plinth, by drawing large square windows to the north, or by proposing balances of masses that transfer the urban discourse of solids and voids to the treatment of the facades.

The local limestone is deliberately arranged and broken up. It obeys the module of the offices, but at the same time it is grouped, displaced, cut or disappears to provide different readings. The near one underlines through the adjustment of the dimension of the joint some architectural principles, the far one reinforces the mass here and there to dialogue with the city, to underline the geometry of the volume or to reinforce the first floor, particularly at the tip of the triangle. This urban hinge is established through a simple fold and a deep shadow crack that naturally gives the required presence to the prow.