La Confluence: A Real Urban Utopia



Right in the midst of the city of Lyon between the Rhone and Saone rivers, an Eco-friendly, sustainable and modern new development  is taking place. One of the largest urban developments of this scale in Europe, La Confluence will see an increase in the city’s population by double.

International architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron alongside landscaper Michel Desvigne are the main developers for the project that is expected to be complete by 2020. What La Confluence represents is a merging of creative ideas and the use of technological advancements. The large emphasis on lighting and eco-friendly measures was a key starting point for the development. So far, you are able to visit the completed first phase which sees the vision coming to life. As well as a range of innovative and modern structures, the area boasts green spaces, roof gardens, a range of rivers and an eco-friendly and highly pedestrian-friendly transport system. E-bikes, E-cars and car sharing schemes are provided throughout.


Buildings have been designed to take maximum advantage of natural sunlight throughout the day. By creatively designing the structures with large triangular notches and the use of double glazing, they will require less power during the day. New structures to be completed by 2015 have been prioritised to feature high energy saving levels. Three new buildings will have a geothermal energy system, a co-generation power plant fuelled by rapeseed oil that has been produced locally and photovoltaics on the roof. With the entire energy system, the developers have envisaged the new development will save 50-60% more energy then existing thermal designs. The three structures will intermittently produce more energy then they consume.

The office structures on site at La Confluence will especially feature a high-level of natural kiting provisions. As they require a high level of lighting, the commercial buildings will have a deep opening in the facades to garner as much natural light as possible, reducing the need for artificial lighting and improving internal comfort. Each area and phase of La Confluence has been envisaged with outstanding energy saving measures alongside creative architectural structures.