Confluence Institute

Matteo Cainer is co-founder with Odile Decq of the Confluence Institute of Innovation and Creative strategies in Architecture in Lyon. As co-director and chair, he developed and implemented both the strategic and pedagogic vision of the school. 

MCA Confluence Founders
Founders Odile Decq and Matteo Cainer

While working very closely with students Matteo pushed his belief in giving new generations of students the ability to pursue a more transversal, collaborative and interdisciplinary approach. Through innovation and technology, help them ‘break the mould’ so as to create unexpected opportunities. Always pushing them to explore their inner intuitions and empower them to choose their own ‘parcour’.

The theme he set out for the opening year 2014-2015 was

MCA Confluence MCThematic

Reaching out towards technological implementations in mobility, material libraries, sustainability, production interfaces, alternative energy, transportation systems, fabrication techniques and new models of representation will consolidate a pluralistic approach and be a catalyst for new talents. Like a connected 'city' the school needs to be able to reassemble and progressively expand into multiple configurations. Its ’fabric’ should extend but more importantly combine and incorporate new transformative educational models that update themselves based on the continuously shifting social, economic and environmental conditions.

Confluence as a collaborative space for great minds, where excellence is pursued and where one can freely meet and discuss collective concerns that require collective engagement.


The ambition of the school when founded was to become a reference point, an open and flexible platform or think tank for architecture in France and in Europe, a place where experts from various fields would be invited to interact with students and challenge conventional approaches to architecture through other disciplines.

The school was started because of a need for change in the way architecture is taught today. It was based on an evolving and radical understanding of research, experimentation and transdisciplinary. Each student would be able to follow his path at his own pace, therefore giving students new trajectories with respect to the social, political and economic developments happening in the world today.

Students at work

Students at work

The school proposed:

  • To construct an unparalleled understanding of architecture at the intersection of disciplines,
  • To cross prospective and experimental visions,
  • To create an appetite for engagement,
  • To generate unforeseen alternatives,
  • To resist the uniformity of production and imposed standards,
  • To question and go beyond the implicit limits of architecture

The ideas were that Confluence would understand and reflect on the continuously evolving world, and become a site of synergies, and a site of hybridization. The objective was to form students that can formulate their own ideas, and become entrepreneurs, students capable of using multiple tools, software platforms and fabrication technology across different fields to solve new and unexpected problems.

The first students at la Tourette

The first students at la Tourette


Confluence Institute for Innovation and Creative Strategies in Architecture,
Co-Founder, Co-director and Chair_ 2013-2015

23 Rue Paul Montrochet,
69002 Lyon, France

Web Links | press
Articles and press on the founding and opening of the Confluence Institute in Lyon France by Matteo Cainer and Odile Decq.

Immo Week
Lyon Pôle
Il Piccolo
Il Piccolo
Le Progres
Le Moniteur
Azure Magazine