Imposing Marseille museum is a bold waterfront beacon...

More than ten years in the making, Marseille’s MuCEM museum on the site of a former harbour pier stands like a symbolic beacon of regeneration for France’s second city created through a mighty imposing design by architect Rudy Ricciotti. The French-Algerian, who did his design schooling in Marseille, won the commission competition launched in 2002 with this 72 sq m box fashioned from moulded concrete lattice panels.

The building sits in the commercial port of the city on the J4 pier, which is credited with bringing jazz to the city in the 1920s, and the central area of the structure has been left empty at the top, giving visitors a chance to promenade on the wooden roof and enjoy great views of the surrounding architecture through the framework. That architecture includes the Fort Saint-Jean, also part of the museum complex and accessible via the slender footbridge. The pier building gives off a wonderfully evocative maritime air, with a greenish glow like oxidised copper particularly noticeable at night. Impressive stuff.

MuCEM Marseille MuCEM Marseille MuCEM Marseille MuCEM Marseille MuCEM Marseille MuCEM Marseille

Photography © Médiathèque Lafarge,
Charles Plumey-Faye, Rudy Ricciotti