51 Rue Lieutenant Colonel Prévost,
The Musée Guimet was founded by Émile Guimet – an industrialist, chemist, philanthropist and amateur expert on the history of religions – on his return from a journey to the Far East. Opened in 1879, the building by architect Jules Chatron showcased Guimet’s personal art collection and housed a library together with a research and teaching institute. The venture attracted little interest from students or the City of Lyon, however, prompting Guimet to transfer it to new, purpose-built, and identical headquarters in Paris.
The Lyon building became a brasserie, a theatre, and finally a skating rink, before being acquired and opened by the City in 1913, as its Museum of Natural History. The building closed permanently in 2007, and remains unoccupied. In 2014, its collections moved to the new Musée des Confluences, designed by Coop Himmelb(l)au. The periods of prosperity and decline of this museum and its abandoned building embody of cycles of fragiltiy and resistence that echo the central themes of the 16th Lyon Biennale.