The entire building relies on the idea of lightness and movement.

Hikari is a project designed by the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, in conjunction with CRB, a Lyon design agency. The project is located at the newly designed waterfront in Lyon, France, and it is conformed of three different buildings.

Higashi (‘East´ in Japanese) is a 5,500-m² office building.

Minami (‘South’ in Japanese) offers 38 apartments with a floor area of 3,400 m².

Nishi (‘West’ in Japanese) a mixed-use building with offices, each 2,600 m², and four residential penthouses with 700 m².

The three buildings share a 1,000 m² of retail space on the ground floor.
Kuma aligned his concept with Herzog & de Meuron’s ideas, the ‘urban development plan’ and the ‘basic box-like buildings.’ Kuma took the stage and sculpted the buildings using large triangular notches to convey sunlight deep inside the spaces of the building. Eventually, naming the conjunction of these three buildings Hikari, which in Japanese means ‘light.’
Minami – central building – exceptional luminosity comes from the extensive exterior glazing, which eliminates the borderline between the interior and exterior. The glazing provides a peek of the interior retail spaces, garden, and the entrances to the offices. 
On the other hand, the two adjacent buildings share glazing and local stone greying the exterior façade. The angles on the facade change gradually, providing different expressions of light and shadow throughout the day. Finally, the spaces harmonize with the brilliance reflection of the river located right across.
The three buildings rely on the idea of lightness and movement, consistent with Kengo’s vision of contemporary architecture inspired by nature. The internal courtyard which adapts to the building geometry reflects the same idea of nature and architecture.
  1. photovoltaic panels on the roof and façades of the residential building
  2. geothermal energy
  3. co-generation power plant
These systems are connected throughout the buildings by an energy communication network.


Residential + Commercial
Kengo Kuma
106 Cours Charlemagne,
69002 Lyon, France
Texts, photographs and diagrams by Michelle Chedraui.