MVRDV just completed “Le Monolithe,” a mixed-use project in Lyon, France featuring social housing, apartments, disabled residences, offices, and retail organized along a central exterior axis of courtyards. The 350,000 square foot structure overlooks the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers and represents a collaboration of several architects and landscape architects.
The MVRDV-designed portion of Le Monolithe includes aluminum sun screens, drawing on Lyon’s vernacular architecture. Each shutter carries a letter, and when closed, the building facade reveals the first article of the European Constitution:
The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.
Le Monolithe was designed with sustainability in mind. The complex features environmentally sensitive rainwater management practices and uses renewable energy for 80% of the total energy consumed, including the use of photovoltaics.
MVRDV designed the project master plan and the front portion of the building, but subsequent layers were each designed by different architects, lending a variegated feel to the overall design commonly achieved through the organic addition of architecture over time. Participating designers include Pierre Gautier, Manuelle Gautrand, ECDM and Erik van Egeraat. Landscape architects West 8 designed the public plaza.