Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations Marseille, MUCEM images / information received 300913
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Architects: Rudy Ricciotti Associate architect: Roland Carta Landscape architects: In Situ
The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations designed by the Algerian-born French architect Rudy Ricciotti is the flagship project of Marseille’s on-going architectural and cultural renaissance. The museum is located on Marseille’s seafront next to a seventeenth century stronghold, Fort St Jean. Built upon the Greek and Roman vestiges of the antique city-state, the Fort is charged with history and includes a chapel which dates back the twelfth century.
The tectonic choice of a special concrete coming from the latest research by French industry, reducing the dimensions to little more than skin and bones, will provide a mineral script under the high ramparts of Fort Saint-Jean. This sole dust-coloured material, matt and crushed by the light, far removed from the brilliance and technological consumerism, will flatter both the dense and the delicate. In a stone and Orientalist landscape, the Mucem’s presence is evanescent, through its fanning shadows. In the sky spanning the basin, a flying carpet navigates towards the fort.
American heat treated ash sits pretty on the rooftop of Marseille’s new flagship museum
AHEC produces a full range of technical publications which are available free of charge by visiting www.americanhardwood.org.
It also houses an auditorium with seating for 335 (for lectures, performances, concerts and film series), a screening space for audio-visual documents (‘the Médinathèque’, in collaboration with the INA), a space devoted to children (‘L’Odyssée des Enfants’), a bookshop and gift shop, as well as a café and a restaurant with a panoramic terrace
Opened in 2013, the J4 building is already renowned worldwide for its architecture combining technical prowess and visual power. This cube with its elegant concrete lacework forms a square plan 72 metres by 72. It is held by 309 branching posts that encircle the exhibition spaces, freeing the central part of the building from loadbearing requirements. These pillars are made out of fibre-reinforced concrete, a product of new research, as flexible as it is resistant.
For Yann Kersalé, the MuCEM needs to be a sounding box for the Mediterranean, led by the sea At night this building becomes a memory of Blue: a transition between all the cultures that it exhibits within its walls, and the mythical, powerful sea. Perpetual pulses of light that send shivers through the lace façades. The sea is present, embedded in the walls, asserting its importance in the design of indoor exhibits.
CMA CGM Headquarters Design: Zaha Hadid Architects photo from architects Zaha Hadid Architects
Rudy Riciotti’s classic monolithic design is built around a perfect square; each side of the building is 72 metres. An inner square of 52 metres per side forms the heart of the museum and comprises the exhibition and conference halls. The inner structure, which is composed of steel and glass, has been covered with a delicate ornamental skin of filigreed concrete. The same innovative material has been used to create 308 tree-shaped pillars that stand at over 8 metres high and form the vertical structure of the building. This patterned concrete skin opens the building to natural light and views of the sea allowing the marine atmosphere to pervade entirely the inside of the building. Furthermore, the lace veil of concrete on the outside of the building creates intricate shadow patterns that can be seen as “a projection of the bumpy and irregular sea bed” comments Ricciotti. He goes on to say his Museum is, “open to the sea, to draw a horizon where the two shores of the Mediterranean can meet”.
From the terrace a soaring footbridge links the J4 to the Fort Saint Jean. The bridge has neither arch nor cables, but instead forms a simple line of black concrete suspended 19 metres in the air. This technical feat is made possible by the exceptional properties of fibre-based concrete. When night falls, thanks to the soft lighting designed by artist Yann Kersalé, the building comes to life, like a new lighthouse at the entrance to Marseille.
Plan View the complete gallery Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
The top floor roof decking, which spans a width of 24 metres covering an area of 1600m², is made from heat-treated American ash, supplied by Bingaman and Son Lumber Company in Pennsylvania, USA. The top deck sits along the pedestrian route running through the Museum and across Marseille’s historic seafront, so with a constant flow of pedestrians a heavy duty decking solution was essential. “We asked the general contractor to come up with a decking solution that could withstand an average load of 250 kg/m²” explains Tilman Reichert, the project architect. Eric Durand from Roofmart, the contractor in charge of supplying the heat-treated ash decking comments, “The architect was looking for solutions that would avoid him specifying tropical hardwoods; initially he wanted to try heat-treated pine but was not happy with the results of the initial trials. The quality of the heat-treated ash we were delivered was first class. When the architect saw the samples he was won over both by the aesthetic appeal of ash with its characteristic grain but also its dimensional stability and long lengths (20 x140).”
The weight of the 24 metre wide rooftop terrace contributes to stabilising the concrete pergola above it through a clever system of stainless steel cables. The vast veil surrounding the terrace is made up with the same intricate filigreed concrete that covers the sides of the building. It rests on 15 metre wide concrete cantilever beams that sit on top of the main vertical pillars of the building. On the outside of the building the cantilever beams carry the weight of the external ramps that lead up to the terrace through long stainless steel braces that span the whole height of the building. Stainless steel cables have also been fixed from the wooden deck to the cantilever beams which overhang above the terrace by 4 metres to stabilise the whole canopy structure above the terrace.
Located overlooking the sea, on the former J4 pier in the port, the building designed by Rudy Ricciotti (in association with Roland Carta) forms the heart of the Mucem. It is here that large exhibitions are held, as well as events that make up the artistic and cultural programme.
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The ground floor is open to everyone. Two external ramps wind their way up to the roof terrace, permitting visitors to enjoy a fascinating ascending walk, with multiple views of the Fort Saint Jean, the open sea and the horizon, visible through the delicate concrete latticework cladding the building.
Surrounding this, above and below are the service areas. But between these areas and the heart, openings entirely bypass the central square and form interconnected spaces. More interested by the views of the fort, the sea and the port, culturally overwhelmed visitors can choose this route. Along two interlacing ramps, they can then plunge into the imaginary world of the tower of Babel or of a ziggurat in order to climb up to the rooftop and on to Fort Saint-Jean. This peripheral loop will offer a demuseumifying breath, enveloped by the smells of the sea from the proximity to the moats, a chance to dispel any lingering doubts about the use of the history of our civilisations. The Mucem will be a vertical Casbah.
Corinne Vezzoni En savoir plus Roland Carta En savoir plus Rudy Ricciotti En savoir plus Agence APS En savoir plus Yann Kersalé En savoir plus
Mucem Conservation and Resources Centre, Marseille, France Design: Corinne Vezzoni et Associés photo © David HUGUENIN Museum Buildings
EuroMed Center Design: Massimiliano Fuksas Architects image © Studio Fuksas Euromed Center Marseille
Contractors: Main contractors: SPIE (foundations & earthworks) Dumez/Freyssinet (structural work and roof cover) Interior fittings: Barreau Interior finishes: Jolisol/SCPA Roof deck supplier: Roofmart Elevators: Otis HVAC & plumbing: Viriot Hautbout Electricity: SPIE South East
ArchDaily Projects Museum France Rudy Ricciotti 2013 MuCEM / Rudy Ricciotti MuCEM / Rudy Ricciotti 01:00 – 16 July, 2013
The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) is the leading international trade association for the U.S. hardwood industry, representing the committed exporters among U.S. hardwood companies and all the major U.S. hardwood product trade associations. AHEC concentrates its efforts on providing architects, specifiers, designers and end-users with technical information on the range of species, products and sources of supply.
Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations Marseille, MUCEM Building, France
Finally, it houses the technical areas that are indispensable to a building of this kind: workshops, storerooms, offices, spaces for discussion and research, etc.
The J4 building houses the museum’s large exhibitions, on two levels. — On level 0, the semi-permanent exhibition: the Galerie de la Méditerranée (Mediterranean Gallery; 1,600 m2). This thematic gallery has modular displays and is changed every 3 to 5 years. — On level 2, temporary exhibitions (2,000 m2). hanks to the flexibility of the spaces, each exhibition can be given the space it requires (between 300 m2 and 2,000 m2).
Engineering: Fluids engineering: Garcia Ingéniérie Structural engineering: SICA, Lamoureux & Riciotti Quantity surveyor: CEC Acoustics: Thermibel
Building Development in southern France – design by Rudy Ricciotti
The roof terrace offers visitors an inclined walkway made up of 115 metres of bridges travelling out from the roof of the building and crossing the harbour basin. This links the Museum to Fort Saint-Jean which hosts the main restaurant managed by local cooking celebrity Gérald Passedat. In time the fort will house a further 15,000 m2 of museum exhibition space. Furthermore the open public spaces around the Fort have been redesigned to showcase a unique botanical collection of Mediterranean plants along a landscaped promenade. Another footbridge leads visitors to le Panier, the oldest and most traditional neighbourhood in Marseille with endearing narrow streets and steep steps.
AHEC European Director David Venables says, “The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations is a superb example of the use of newer technologies of hardwood durability enhancement. There’s a developing market for thermally modified hardwoods in Europe and this project publically showcases their potential. By processing wood produced from America’s well-managed hardwood forests, thermally modified hardwood provides a quality, environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to imported tropical hardwood species.”
Views, sea, sun, and a mineral quality are all orchestrated by a programme that has become federal and cognitive. First of all, a perfect square of 72 metres per side, it is a classic Latin layout, within the realm of Pythagoras. Within this square, another of 52 m per side, comprising the exhibition and conference rooms identified as the heart of the museum.
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Text description provided by the architects. Views, sea, sun, a mineral quality, which all must be orchestrated by a program that will become federal and cognitive. First of all a perfect square of 72 m per side, it is a classic plan, Latin, under the control of Pythagoras. Within this square, another of 52 m per side, comprising the exhibition and conference halls identified as the heart of the museum.
The thermal modification process uses a high temperature in a controlled environment permanently altering the wood’s chemical and physical properties. This limits the ability of the wood to absorb moisture, so products are more dimensionally stable and less prone to cup, warp and twist with changes in humidity. The thermal modification process also removes the nutrients in wood that would otherwise provide a food source for insects and wood-destroying fungi. This increase in dimensional stability and decay resistance significantly extends the service life and reduces maintenance needs of the decking. Given its marine environment, the deck is highly exposed to weathering from the sun, rain and sea spray so will be monitored to assess its performance over time. Tilman Reichert the project architect comments: “We believe that ash with its long wood fibre will offer greater resistance to wear than pinewood”.
The J4 in figures 16,500 m2 including 3,690 m2 of exhibition space 1,600 m2 modular space for the Galerie de la Méditerranée 2,000 m2 exhibition spaces (accommodating several temporary exhibitions simultaneously) 90 m2 for the ‘Médinathèque’ 3,694 m2 of workshops and storerooms 2,415 m2 for administration, conservation and research 15,000 m2 latticework of fibre-reinforced concrete
At night, the MuCEM reproduces the vibrations of the Mediterranean as an installation of coloured lights. The lighting designed by Yann Kersalé showcases all sides of the building, giving it visibility from land and sea, acting as a signal in the night. The South and West facades are the project matrix, and here the light plays the role of multiple skins present in shades of blue and turquoise, giving the impression of rippling water.
Cite: “MuCEM / Rudy Ricciotti” 16 Jul 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed .
The Museum is organised on three levels with an array of exhibitions, an auditorium and a bookstore. The rooftop is a particular feature and is set to become an iconic venue for the city with beautiful panoramic views of the sea and harbour. At night a lighting scheme designed by Yann Kersalé creates a magical atmosphere with shades of blue and turquoise.
The decking is laid on a traditional system of boarding joists to allow the insulation membrane directly under the wooden decking to be well ventilated. The boards were nailed not screwed which is visually more pleasing.
Vieux Port Pavilion – building news Design: Foster + Partners photo : Nigel Young Vieux Port Pavilion Marseille
In the sky spanning the basin a flying carpet, granted a bit long, navigates towards the fort.
The tectonic choice of an exceptional concrete coming from the latest research by French industry, reducing the dimensions to little more than skin and bones, will affirm a mineral script under the high ramparts of Fort Saint-Jean. This sole material in the colour of dust, matt, crushed by the light, distant from the brilliance and technological consumerism, will commend the dense and the delicate. The MuCEM sees itself evanescent in a landscape of stone and Orientalist through its fanning shadows.
Around, above and below are the service areas. But between these areas and the heart, openings entirely bypass the central square and form interconnected spaces. More interested by the views of the fort, the sea or the port, the culturally overwhelmed visitor will choose this route. Along two interlacing ramps, he will then plunge into the imaginary of the tower of Babel or of a ziggurat in order to climb up to the rooftop and on to Fort Saint- Jean. This peripheral loop will be a demuseumifying breathe, enveloped by the smells of the sea from the proximity to the moats, a pause to dispel any lingering doubts about the use of the history of our civilisations. The MuCEM will be a vertical Casbah.
This French building – partly covered with a delicate ornamental skin of filigreed concrete – is one of our picks from Buildings of 2013 : Architecture of the Year e-architect’s selection of key architectural developments posted on the site in the last year