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19/12/2018 Comments (0) Architecture

In Marseille, a tower by Jean Nouvel

The “Marseillaise”, the newest office tower from Jean Nouvel, joined the architectural parade of the large EuroMéditerranée site in Marseille. Reaching a height of 135m, it offers Marseille a fever of local colours.

A watercolour, a breath of fresh air, a building that is somewhat of a chameleon“: with its 30 shades of blue-white-red, The Marseillaise was born under the pencil of Jean Nouvel and it is the name of a tower of 135 meters that was inaugurated in Marseille, at the heart of the new EuroMéditerranée district.

Overlooking the commercial port of La Joliette, this imposing office building (35,000m2 on 31 levels, 1,700 tons of steel) is built on the old derelict docks. A space designed to create an interface between the city centre and the more impoverished areas of the North. Marseille dreamt of a skyline, a row of skyscrapers, on the edge of its port area, to become its landmark.

The bet is almost won. La Marseillaise is supposed to answer the elegant CMA-CGM Tower signed Zaha Hadid. With a brilliant innovation: the colourful sunshades of the building capture the reflective light of the waterfront as a work of art.

The glazed facades are decorated with 3,800 sunshades in high-performance fibrous concrete with thirty shades: milky white, celadon blue, bright red, salmon pink… The architect sees it as a contextualisation, a reminder of the blue of the sea, of the white of the limestone hills, of the red of the tiles: “This project is an evocation of Marseille: the blue is that of the sky, the sea and the OM; the white is inspired by the foam; and the red by the tiles of the roofs of Le Panier“, a popular and historic district near the Old Port, specifies the poetic and verbose Jean Nouvel.

  • La Marseillaise - Jean Nouvel / Michele Clavel
  • La Marseillaise - Jean Nouvel / Michele Clavel
  • La Marseillaise - Jean Nouvel / Michele Clavel
  • La Marseillaise - Jean Nouvel / Michele Clavel
  • La Marseillaise - Jean Nouvel / Michele Clavel
  • La Marseillaise - Jean Nouvel / Michele Clavel
  • La Marseillaise - Jean Nouvel / Michele Clavel

16,000m2 of glazed area

In this high-tech tower, everything is light. No walls, no doors, no partitions. Matured for a dozen years, built in three and a half years, the building aims “to get away from standardisation, this tendency to take a single type of office and to repeat it at will“, explains the architect. With their vast glass bays that play with the inside-outside borders, the workspaces enjoy a stunning view of the sea, the hills or the Frioul archipelago.

In the future, two towers should rise near La Marseillaise. But we’ll have to be patient. The Horizon Tower, renamed “La Porte bleue”, is undergoing a severe blow by going from the initial 113m to 56m of hotels and residential housing. The prestigious real estate programme H99, also expected there, is postponed: the marketing is planned next year, the delivery scheduled in 2023.

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