In the Market district, a former building (C3) of the wholesale market is being transformed. Once rehabilitated, it will become the second school to be built as part of the Lyon Confluence project. The first, Germaine-Tillion, has had nearly 500 students since 2012. Truly important facilities for a neighbourhood with strong population growth!


  • Completion date: 2022 
  • Stakeholders
    • Lyon Confluence (project owner)
    • Vurpas Architectes (designer)
    • BASE (landscape architect and roads and utilities)
    • UBC (structure)
    • ITF-OTEIS (fluids and environment engineering, IT)
    • EAI Acoustics 
    • ARPEGE engineering (scheduling management and coordination)
  • Floor area: 5,900 sq. metres 


  • 15 classes for the school:
    • 6 in nursery school 
    • 9 in primary school
  • 45 spaces in daycare 
  • School cafeteria
  • Gym
  • Other common areas: multi-purpose rooms, offices, logistics areas, playgrounds, and more. 




Hall C3, where the new school is located, is a building of the former wholesale market, like Girard Hall, which became H7. Although built in the 1950s, its architecture has advantages that correspond to the requirements of an open, generously proportioned and yet fully secure school. The project is based on a functional, rational layout. Like a bridge between the past and the future, the heritage has been preserved to serve the new purpose of educating children. 

“It is one of the major challenges of the project: making good use of the existing built resources, using what is already there, repurposing while remaining faithful to the spirit of the original design. The transformation of the quarter is bringing the wholesale market buildings towards more delicate purposes. Heritage is not only what you receive; first and foremost, it is what you hand down to future generations.”

Cabinet Vurpas Architectes.

A north-east extension will seamlessly prolong the existing building on two levels. On the upper level, a gymnasium will be used by the school’s students during school hours. It will also be open to people from the surrounding neighbourhood, through a separate, direct entrance on Rue Smith.


As soon as the school opens in 2020, approximately 450 students will study there, in 15 classes. The school will have:

  • on the ground floor: a nursery school, daycare centre and cafeteria
  • on the first floor: a primary school, a medical & social centre, offices, a gym and the custodian's residence
  • on the roof (preserved part): a primary school playground and a greenhouse
  • on the roof (extension): sports fields
  • on the lower level: multi-purpose rooms, adults’ rest areas (with sunken courtyard), utility and storage areas, and more.

The school will open out onto the environment surrounding it. The gym (level 1), which is open to people from the neighbourhood, will feature many windows to offer natural light and views. The classrooms will also be very open to the playgrounds and the city, while being at a slightly higher level, thanks to the former quays.


Each section of the school will have a generously proportioned playground, adapted to the children’s age.

  • The nursery school will feature a landscaped playground in a tree-lined inner courtyard with a small area for a vegetable garden. The landscape architects made the most of the hall’s two-tiered architecture, to design fun, secure access to the playground equipment (ladders, terraced seating, slides, slopes, and more). 
  • The primary school will have a huge playground on the roof. This sunny space will offer many activities, with an educational greenhouse, a large covered area and sports fields.
  • The daycare centre will have an outdoor area specially sized just for the little ones, including a lawn.

Another feature that takes advantage of the building’s semi-underground design: a sunken courtyard below the entrance on the Rue Delandine side. Open to the students, teachers and staff, this extra outdoor space will have the advantage of staying cool and bright. It will be modular and multi-purpose.

Some of the key principles that went into the design of the outdoor spaces:

  • making the playgrounds gender-neutral and multi-purpose, with a variety of spaces and equipment, conducive both to a range of activities and to quiet reflection.
  • giving pride of place to nature, in order to make these future citizens aware of the importance of biodiversity.


A commitment to the environment is a core principle of this project, which aims to reduce heat and increase thermal comfort.

The playgrounds will feature a lot of vegetation and the ground will be permeable and/or light-coloured. This design will help keep these outdoor spaces cool. The sunken courtyard will also offer cool and refreshing spaces. 

Indoors, to limit the environmental impacts, the decision was made to forgo air conditioning. Instead, a variety of systems will help keep the premises pleasant in every season:

  • all of the rooms will feature outdoor venetian blinds with adjustable slats to filter direct sunlight and prevent overheating;
  • the rooms will feature natural ventilation, with specially designed window frames that will let a slight draft in at all times of day and night while protecting against intrusion;
  • with the aim of ensuring good air quality, the level of ventilation will be two times higher than the level required by the applicable regulations; 
  • extra air blowers will be installed;
  • the corridors will be extra wide to ensure good air circulation;
  • the school will have air filters.


Once the school has been built, the City of Lyon will take possession of it. In order to ensure the best possible management, throughout the project, Lyon Confluence has collaborated closely with technicians, elected officials and the French Ministry of National Education. This collaboration has fostered ideas, such as the creation of shareable and multi-purpose spaces, which will be decided on by the future users of the school.

On the lower levels, several rooms can be reserved for specific activities, such as painting, reading, etc. These rooms should be accessible to all ages. The large distribution spaces can also be used for educational activities, for example, for work in small groups.