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J4, MuCEM, Marseille, France

Monday 24 Jun 2013

A box within a box

Photographs: Lisa Ricciotti 
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Rudy Ricciotti Architecte’s J4 MuCEM completes with elaborate double facade 

The latest building in a multi-stage development in Marseille, France has now completed, offering a breathtaking new base for visitors to learn about the culture and history of the Mediterranean region. A series of schemes are currently underway in Marseille as part of the cultural regeneration, including the Euromed Center (Massimiliano Fuksas), Center for Conservation and Resources (Corinne Vezzoni) and Frac (Kengo Kuma), however the stunning images shown here showcase one scheme in particular: Rudy Ricciotti Architecte’s J4 Musée des Civilisations d’Europe et de Méditerranée (MuCEM).

A brand new building encompassing 15,000 sq m, the J4 MuCEM is the core of this vast cultural scheme. The MuCEM development is split into three parts: J4; Fort Saint-Jean; and the Center for Conservation and Resources. Visitors will begin their cultural journey in Rudy Ricciotti Architecte’s J4 building, travelling through a series of exhibition spaces to a glorious suspended footbridge from which they can enjoy far-reaching views across the Mediterranean.

This footbridge leads into the stone recesses of Fort Saint-Jean, built by Louis XIV in 1660, where visitors will be greeted by a further 1,150 sq m of exhibition space in the ‘new Mediterranean garden’. Culminating this cultural voyage is a third venue designed by architect Corinne Vezzoni in the Belle de Mai district. The Center for Conservation and Resources is a preservation site for the artefacts of the Museum and will offer opportunities for visitors to enjoy a ‘behind the scenes’ experience and learn about the history of the museum.

Rudy Ricciotti Architecte’s elaborate volume is located on the former J4 port pier and was designed in collaboration with Roland Carta. It offers 3,600 sq m of prime exhibition space over two levels, destined to be home to educational displays on the invention of the gods, the treasures of the spice route, and visions of Jerusalem. Supporting this exhibition space is an auditorium of 325 seats, a children’s area, a bookstore, brasserie, restaurant with generous terrace, and various administration areas.

The memorable aesthetic of this remarkable building is achieved thorough a double façade; one perfect square of 52m slotted into another perfect square of 72m. The smaller square is the core of the building, housing the main exhibition and conference areas, while the space between these facades encases two interlacing ramps which rise to a rooftop where the visitor will join the throngs on the bridge to Fort Saint-Jean. While on the ramp between the main wall and the intricate latticework, users can enjoy panoramic views across the coast while breathing in the warm salty air that filters through its voids.

Sian Disson
News Editor

Key Facts

Status Completed
Value 0(m€)
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Rudy Ricciotti Architecte

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