An ambitious symphony concert hall in the heart of Lyon
The Lyon Auditorium is a colossal vessel in concrete and steel, whose distinctive silhouette has featured in the heart of the Part-Dieu district for over 40 years.
On its inauguration on 14 February 1975, the Auditorium was the first concert hall on this scale to be built in France solely for musical purposes.
It had become a matter of necessity to build the Auditorium to house the Orchestre national de Lyon, which was increasingly cramped in the Salle Rameau (at the foot of the Croix-Rousse slopes in the 1st arrondissement), where it had been rehearsing and performing since 1908. At the prompting of Robert Proton de la Chapelle, a journalist, musician and cultural councillor under Mayor Louis Pradel, the plans for the Auditorium were drawn up by Charles Delfante, a City of Lyon town planner, and Henri Pottier, an architect awarded the Grand Prix de Rome. Its construction took three years of Herculean efforts and was one of the biggest projects undertaken in Lyon during the 1970s.
ONE OF THE BIGGEST PROJECTS UNDERTAKEN IN LYON DURING THE 1970S
“Set off from the surrounding tower blocks in the new Part-Dieu district, the circular building will resemble a large stadium. Its inauguration, scheduled for 14 February 1975, will be a tremendous boost for musical life in Lyon,” said Serge Baudo, then the orchestra’s music director.
From 1993 to 2002, the Lyon Auditorium underwent a programme of acoustic and aesthetic renovation to upgrade the facilities and enhance the experience the auditorium offers both the audience and the orchestra.
Wooden panels were installed, the carpeting was removed, the seats were replaced and the stage was enlarged. The work was carried out every summer for 10 years to avoid disrupting the orchestra’s work and to spread out the financial burden of the operation.
In 2012, the Lyon Auditorium was officially listed as one of France’s “20th century heritage” buildings, alongside another 40 or so of Lyon’s outstanding buildings.
34 months of construction work
30,000 m3 total volume
31.50 m maximum height
4,500 m2 of ribbed roofing
12 pillars planted 15 m deep in the ground to support the building
2,100 seats in the main concert hall
400 m2 of stage area
45 years in existence
Concert hall, stage, ticket office, technical backstage… by clicking on the top left of the image below, choose which part of the Auditorium you want to visit virtually and explore its every nook and cranny!
The Atrium, a real gathering place
An area for learning about and practising music
The Salle Proton, a novel venue