Office building, Lyon

Name of the project
Sede EMH y oficinas en Villeurbanne

55 Rue de la Soie, Villeurbanne


Peñín Arquitectos - Alberto Peñín

OAB - Carlos Ferrater

AFAA - Damien Poyet y Phillippe Addart


Burno Dumetier

Architecture team

AFAA: Anne Sophie Rigal, Louise Maestre, Giulia Fantini

Peñín Arquitectos: Marta Gómez López

Cogedim Grand Lyon

Construction company
Groupe Builders & Partners

Completion date

28.800.000 €

Built area
13.117 m2

Joan Guillamat


In a natural environment next to the Jonage Villeurbanne canal park, in the city of industrial tradition within the metropolitan area of Lyon, the Carré de la Soie emerges. One of its latest urban spaces to take shape is the Miriam Makéba square, serving as an intermodal gateway to the district. This square is complemented by a mixed-use building housing the metropolitan social housing company Est Métropole Habitat, offices, and common and commercial spaces.


Its volumetric strategy reflects, at the scale of the block, the spirit of the landscape sequence of filled and empty spaces that intertwine the city from East to West, from the canal to the square. A transversal cut organizes the program and accommodates a passage space, an inhabited forum, an extension of the street, and a meeting place, upon which a cascading urban garden unfolds between the city and the park. A series of folds draw volumes and chamfers that adapt to the different scales of the environment.


The headquarters of EMH is developed in a triangle, offering surprising spaces and an optimal facade/surface ratio. The strategic positioning of the cores and the treatment of the corners allows for the arrangement of flexible workspaces that alternate between different modalities, from double-height meeting spaces or corner offices to landscape offices, voids in the center, or private boxes.


Its architecture conveys a certain timelessness, simultaneously classic and contemporary, in harmony with the site's industrial past (from Tony Garnier to the famous Gratteciels). The grid of 1.35 induces a dynamic and varied urban texture to lighten the mass, dilute the boundaries, and adopt nuances and a certain ambiguity: carving out the corners, the attic, variation of openings at the base, in the square bays to the North, or balances of diagonal masses in cuts and folds.


The window, a central element of Lyonnaise architecture, is crafted from repetition and diversity, respecting the tradition of its lambrequins. Clad in coppery aluminum with multiple reflections, it incorporates an off-centered spine as a guide for solar protection and a grooved sill. The attic finish is covered with micro-perforated sheet metal for both an abstract and dematerialized view and to offer views from common spaces and a luminous appearance during the night.


The disassembly of local limestone follows the module of the offices but also groups, shifts, cuts, or disappears to provide different readings. A fold and a shadow crack construct the apex as the required urban prow in the fold.


Urban continuities, work on porosity and density, the presence of nature, are addressed through simplicity. The singular effect is not ostentatious; its presence and character are developed from the continuity of geometry, the nature of its strategic location, and the precision of its expression.