The modern provencal Venice

The similarities between Martigues and its Italian elder do not stop at the canals that run through both cities. While the Venetian Arsenal welcomes the world's architects as part of the city's art Biennale, the "Provencal Venice" has been an in-situ laboratory for contemporary architecture for over fifty years. Thanks to a proactive policy regarding the construction of public facilities and social housing, Martigues has become a remarkable city with regards to Mediterranean architecture. The quality and usage value of the constructions provided to the local population make them references in the matter. The town is living proof that it is possible to build a perennial city in Provence, at once traditional and industrial, wherein architecture and urban planning act as social glue. Martigues is a part of the Town of Art and History network, enabling the preservation and public enjoyment of its heritage. Between Marseille and Fos-sur-Mer stands as a cathartic architectural and urban response to metropolitan ills.

La Venise Provençale moderne Théâtre des Salins École de Ferrières Hôtel de Ville ZAC Paradis Saint Roch Immeuble Moulins de France Ensemble Collectif Notre Dame des Marins École maternelle Di Lorto Centre Funéraire Municipal
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The Moulins de France

A Little Slice of Paradise, Ahead of its Time

This represents a foreshadowing of the Paradis Saint Roch ZAC. The first creation by the then-new BCDMB architectural agency, this experiment makes a statement in the cityscape. The architects cleverly blended modern principles with Mediterranean architecture. The large white building, scattered with cantilevered volumes, skillfully plays with light. The audacious fragmented building stood in contrast with the combination of slabs and towers that was predominant in the development of social housing projects at the time. The lissom 13-storey building rests on an L-shaped base that espouses the site's slope. Generous horizontal and vertical passageways extend beyond the scope of the building, embracing the neighbourhood. Each apartment is given its own identity: a small medina a ground level, apartments with their own gardens, or units in the tower featuring loggias or open terraces. Due to the high cost of this prototypical building, simplified plans were drawn up for the rest of the ZAC. The complex was classified Patrimoine du XXème Siècle (the French “20th Century Heritage” designation).

Architect :
Year : 1969
Type : housing
Address : Avenue de paradis Saint Roch, 13500 Martigues
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