Vieux Port Pavilion
By Kirsten Kiser
The transformation of Marseille’s Vieux Port, by Foster + Partners, was one of a series of projects completed in time for the city’s inauguration as European Capital of Culture in 2013.
The landscape design, which was developed with Michel Desvigne, includes a new pale granite surface, in the same shade as the original limestone cobbles. The simple, hard-wearing, roughly textured materials are appropriate to the port setting, and to improve accessibility for all, curbs and level changes have been eliminated.
|I know the harbor at Marseille well and it is a truly grand space. This project was a great opportunity to enhance it using very simple means, to improve it with small, discreet pavilions for events, for markets, for special occasions.|
|/ Lord Norman Foster|
The Pavilion, located on the Quai de la Fraternité at the eastern edge of the harbor, is a simple canopy of highly reflective stainless steel, open on all sides and supported by slender pillars.
Its polished, mirrored surface reflects the surrounding port and tapers towards the edges, minimizing its profile and reducing the structure’s visual impact.
The project has reclaimed the quaysides as a civic space, creating new informal venues for performances and events and removing traffic creating a safe, semi-pedestrianized public realm.
Enlarging the space for pedestrians, the technical installations and boat houses on the quays were replaced with new platforms and clubhouses over the water.
|The new pavilion is quite literally a reflection of its surroundings…|
|/ Spencer de Grey, Head of Design, Foster + Partners|