Today the values and enormous potential for growth of the city are at the heart of large-scale transformations in which the formal exhibitionism of architecture plays a leading role. Evidence of this condition can be found in various European capitals that appear to move against the current if we consider the recent effects of the global crisis on the building industry. Marseille is a fervent example. The Euroméditerranée urban project developed in Marseille represents one of the largest public operations undertaken in France since the construction of the La Défense district in Paris. Nominated European Capital of Culture 2013, Marseille looks to the future: on one hand rediscovering its historic heritage and triggering vast rehabilitation and reuse projects for existing buildings and, on the other hand, focusing on re-launching its harbour with the objective of becoming the nation’s leading port facility. The city is pursuing a new image that will place it at the centre of international culture; an image entrusted to contemporary architecture. This was the impetus for projects in numerous brownfields and new constructions; new interventions supported by banks and financiers have been enriched by state-of-the-art technologies and communications, accompanied by forecasts for a new and more efficient network of mobility. This process, a selection of whose results are presented in this issue, takes its cues from the courageous reconversion of The Docks in 1990. The project in Marseille triggered an important and decisive change in the northern part of the city, attracting businesses by creating free zones and integrating tram lines with the existing subway. Rendered easier to reach, the area suddenly became more “beautiful and inviting”. This process was complemented by iconic buildings designed by some of the most visible architects from the international and French panorama (Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster, Kengo Kuma, Boeri Studio, Roland Carta and Eric Castaldi, Rémy Marciano, Bonte & Migozzi, ARM Architecture) which have changed the skyline of Marseille, an ideal place to live where everything converges.



Leila Bochicchio

Mario Pisani

Foster+Partners / Tangram Architectes / Mdp – L’OMBRIÉRE ET LE RÉMANÉGEMENT DU VIEUX PORT – Pg. 30

30Tangram, Desvigne and Foster&Partners defined a programme for the semi-pedestrianisation of the entire urban area around the Vieux Port, that has been intelligently remodelled in favour of pedestrian mobility compared to vehicular one, in view of a possible total pedestrianisation of the area. The space is intentionally mineral, with no plantings to create interruptions and a limited number of urban furnishings. The lighting was designed ad hoc by Yann Kersalé, while the benches, bicycle racks, posts and fences are all the work of Foster’s office. This latter also designed the Ombrière , an extremely thin six meters high canopy supported by slender colums and coated inside by 120 highly polished stainless steel panels. 

Rudy Ricciotti – LE MUCEM – Pg. 40

40The MuCEM occupies the most strategic position in the Euromediterranée plan, serving as a hinge linking the ancient port, the northern quarters and the twentieth century commercial harbour, now wholly given over to tourism. It is a perfect square with a second square inscribed within it, that hosts the exhibition spaces and conference halls, surrounded by various service spaces. From the rooftop a walkway is launched across the vast void between the Museum and the Fort Saint-Jean, where the terrace has been transformed into a public garden. This latter, together with the columns supporting the building and the ornamental skin cladding it, are realized in BFUP (Béton Fibré á Ultra-hautes Performance), a high-performance innovative concrete.

Boeri Studio – LA VILLA MÉDITERRANÉE – Pg. 52

52Stefano Boeri has designed a powerful construction suspended 14 meters above a void, realized with fourlarge trusses, clad outside with prefabricated concrete panels that create the building’s external skin wrapping the transversal profile of the section and cut by horizontal openings of varying lengths. The sides of the building are entirely glazed, as well as the overlook from the cantilever toward the horizon. The project develops most of its floor area below the water level, where a large square space contains some cylindrical volumes like a circular wooden auditorium, round service volumes and an helicoidal staircase leading to the atrium. The entrance volume occupies the entire width of the building, provoking further intense emotional reactions thanks to its oblique end walls, to the diagonal escalator, to suspended bridges and the folded and slanting wall.

Kengo Kuma & Associates – LE FRAC PROVENCE ALPES CÔTE D’AZUR – Pg. 60

60 The FRAC is an irregular volume that completes the corner of an urban block, wrapping its ground floor in a glazed surface supporting an elongated, three-storey volume along Rue Vincent Leblanc and becoming a tower facing Place D’Arvieux. Inside, white plastered walls and lightweight separations in expanded metal mesh, exposed concrete ceilings, resin paving, stainless steel profiles framing the glazed walls of the façade and neon lighting. On the exterior, everything has been designed to negate mass. The glazed base, the terrace cutting the building and, finally, the white glass panels, fixed to the external wall at different angles and realised in collaboration with the artist Emmanuel Barrois.

Roland Carta Associés / Eric Castaldi – THE SILO D’ARENC – Pg. 66

66 The Silo d’Arenc is situated in the port of Marseille, between the highway and the area of transit for loading/unloading vehicles. This old warehouse for the storage and shipping of grain has been converted into a multipurpose structure. Constructed entirely in concrete between 1924 and 1927 and decommissioned during the 1980s, it was the harbour’s first fully automated silo. In 2004 the City of Marseille decided to give the building a new life: new office space to the south designed by the architect Eric Castaldi and a new performance space to the north, awarded to Roland Carta, winner of an international design competition. The Silo is now home to an auditorium with seating for up to 2000 spectators. Completed in 2011, the new project is majestically inserted within its pre-existing container, emptied from the inside out in order to preserve its original identity.

Rémy Marciano Architecte – HOTEL B&B – Pg. 74


74 The building designed by Rémy Marciano in Marseille for the B&B Hotel franchise is part of the vaster “Le Parc Habité” urban project by Yves Lion, the architect and urban planner awarded France’s Grand Prix d’Urbanisme in 2007 and author of numerous projects at home and abroad. Lion’s urban system is structured by the idea of creating a sort of inhabited cliff. Viewed from the exterior, along the street fronts, the master plan models and defines a mineral-like urban environment; on the interior it protects a natural, green heart. The high density proposed for the majority of the project’s blocks is attenuated by a system of public or semi-public landscaped areas occupying the core of the urban blocks, consenting the interaction between the buildings and their inhabitants. 

Bonti & Migozzi Architectes – LE HANGAR J1 – Pg. 78

78 The J1 Hangar was renovated in occasion of “Marseille European Capital of Culture 2013”. The project was promoted by the entity responsible for the city’s Great Maritime Port to host important events tied to Maritime Navigation and the Mediterranean. Modifications to the hangar, constructed in 1930, involved its general appearance and the construction of new facilities suitable to its new use. On the one hand there was a need to maintain its industrial identity and, on the other, to proceed with a contemporary interpretation capable of constituting an ideal bridge with the history of the port and its new role in the city of Marseille. A great simplicity not without its moments of refinement and irony, pervades the new Hangar J1.

Roland Carta Associés – LE MUSÉE D’HISTOIRE DE MARSEILLE – Pg. 84

84 The Marseille History Museum is situated in the archaeological site of the Vieux Port, unearthed in 1967 during works to reorganise the Bourse quarter. The excavations brought to light a vast Greek settlement consisting, in addition to the port, of a necropolis and freshwater basin, successively modified by the Romans. For Marseille 2013 European Capital of Culture, the original structure of the Museum was completely renovated. The project involved some 6,300 sq. m of space, 3,380 of which are given over to a permanent exhibition, developed on two of the building’s three levels. Entirely wrapped in an opalescent glass-shell that resembles a luminous blade running along the edge of the Jardin des Vestiges, the new Museum is sharply separated from the buildings surrounding it, confirming its role as an urban landmark. 

Arm Architecture Matthieu Poitevin & Pascal Reynaud – LA FRICHE LA BELLE DE MAI – Pg. 94
94 The renovation of these former tobacco warehouses is the result of a strong political programme that has created what is now one of the most important centres of cultural and architectural production in France. The new cultural centre takes it name from the area that hosts it – the Belle de Mai – a working class quarter that developed at the turn of the century around numerous industrial and craft-based activities. The area is now living a second life of important growth thanks to a rehabilitation programme conceived in harmony with the needs of the territory that simultaneously provides multiple services to the city. The entire area has been projected into an international dimension, capable of satisfying a vast public with a dense programme of activities inside the building, and the possibility to utilise its spaces by day and by night.


- Superstudio. Originalità e originarietà dell’architettura – Pag. 102
– L’architettura delle colonie climatiche in Abruzzo. Un patrimonio del Moderno da salvare – Pag. 105
– Emilia Romagna: proposte dopo il terremoto – Pag. 111
– Modelli oltre i modelli. Architettura plastica di Marco Galofaro – Pag. 114
– Progettare sotto la quota zero. L’intervento “Cava sostenibile” a Maurisengo – Pag. 116

LIBRI - Pag. 119
NOTIZIE - Pag. 121


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