Let's take a stroll through the Euroméditerranée district, the largest urban redevelopment in Southern Europe, which, over the last decade and a half, has been transforming former port brownfields into a true 21st-century Mediterranean city. The objectives are to reconnect the port to the city, extend the downtown core northwards, and create an interface with the surrounding neighbourhoods - and the metropolis beyond. A showcase for Marseille, this area is a major site of experimentation encompassing regional and international architectural trends.

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Gaston Defferre Departmental Archives and Library (ABD)

A Heart of Concrete Wrapped in Glass

LThe archives are protected by an enormous, hermetic red concrete pebble, a reference to the nearby port's shipping containers. It is wrapped in a facade of glass panels assembled using an experimental technique. The 3,000-square-metre building houses two separate public services: the archives, and the lending library with its "reading garden". The two entities are accessible via a wide-open, shared lobby, and stand seven storeys tall. The archival stacks are designed to be as compact as possible, in order to minimize the retrieval time of documents. A light art installation on the southern facade, Keiichi Tahara's Ode à la Méditerranée, in only visible at night, perfectly highlighting the skin cladding's translucent dimension, and its blood system-like nerve centre. It was commissioned as part of the 1% public art grant. This nocturnal glow also visually interprets the living dimension of the city's memory, like a constantly-beating heart. Corinne Vezzoni, the building's architect, describes the construction as "a response to the ships that glide past the coast."
Architect :
Corine Vezzoni et Pascal Laporte
Year : 2005
Type : Archives and library
18,20 rue Mirès 1303 Marseille
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