A business school for so-called Early makers


Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Interior Architecture


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.

Technical details

Education & Research
Design Proposal
Lyon, France

Ogic, Demathieu & Bard, AA Group, Z Architecture & Alep

29,130 m²

A “city-maker”

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.

Photo: MIR and Snøhetta

A highly flexible and generous open space

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 make the protective roof of the school. The building connects to adjacent park areas, tying them together through a street leading 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 is accessed through a tilted plaza, leading students, staff, and visitors into a super-flexible ground floor that reveals the campus's sprawling student life.

As a highly innovative school, Emlyon differentiates itself from traditional business schools through its pedagogy and philosophy. The project's main focus was to create a highly flexible and generous open space that would ensure that the building could become a place where the early makers of the future could meet their full potential through collaboration, experimentation, and innovation.

Photo: MIR and Snøhetta

Photo: MIR and Snøhetta

Photo: MIR and Snøhetta