In partnership with Z Architecture, AA Group and Alep, alongside a large interdisciplinary project team, Snøhetta was commissioned by Ogic and Demathieu & Bard to submit a design proposal for the emlyon campus in Lyon.
Emlyon is a business school for so called “Early makers”. According to the school, this means “[p]eople who can take their destiny into their own hands, who shape and mold their existence as part of a collaborative process, moving from “Do It Yourself” to “Do It Together”. They are innovators who can bring their projects to fruition, who move from concept to prototype, who try, experiment, make mistakes, start again, and learn as they go.”
As emlyon is now moving from its current location in Ecully outside of Lyon to the development area of Gerland close to the city center, the project aims to turn the new school into an incubator of the area. By working with the idea of creating a “City-maker” that shapes the city, Snøhetta and its collaborators developed a design proposal that successfully integrates the school with its urban context, its adjacent public space and the city.
The design proposal is built around the idea of creating tension. Half-sunken into its urban context, the building seems to physically shatter the ground as if large tectonic plates were pushed up to create the protective roof of the school. The building further connects to adjacent park areas, tying them together through a street that leads to a publicly accessible roof.
This dynamic public space invites the public to interact with the building and the dynamic learning environment of the school. The school itself is accessed through a tilted plaza leading students, staff and visitors into a super-flexible ground floor that reveals the campus’ sprawling student life.
As a highly innovative school, emlyon differentiates itself from traditional business school through its pedagogy and philosophy. The main focus of the project was therefore been to create a highly flexible and generous open space that would ensure that the building can become a place where the early makers of the future can meet their full potential though collaboration, experimentation and innovation.