As part of a comprehensive transformation project in the Old Port of Marseille -listed as a World Heritage Site-, the architectural firm Foster + Partners launched the new Vieux Port Pavilion in a ceremony that also celebrated the completion of a  nautical cluband events area, built to commemorate the appointment of the city as European Capital of Culture 2013. The main purpose of the pavilion is to reactivate the port as a public space and a meeting place that invites citizens to take ownership and be part of it. The minimalist design makes it look like a discreet intervention that dialogues harmoniously with its surroundings, creating a visual depth that transforms the perception of space. The roof structure is a simple and discreet stainless steel, 46 by 22 meters, supported by six pillars elegant and slender, its surface, which apparently looks like a mirror, reflecting the surrounding port and movement of pedestrians. To promote the experience, the pedestrian area around was expanded: the Club Houses and technical facilities that were aligned to the dock were moved to new platforms over the water.

During the inauguration, Spencer de Grey, Head of Design at Foster + Partners, commented: “Our aim has been to make the Vieux Port in an area accessible to all, the project is an invitation to people from Marseille to enjoy and use again this great event space and event markets. the new pavilion is literally a reflection of the environment, light steel structure is a minimalist intervention is seen as a subtle silver line on the horizon … “

Source and images: Foster + Partners

Images: ©Nigel Young

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