Teaching architecture according to NP2F | Archie
The new building is the cornerstone of the Porte d’Aix redevelopment project in Marseille. On land reclaimed after the movement of the entrance to the motorway leading to the city, the Mediterranean Institute of the City and Territories is located in the heart of the urban park designed by Alfred Peter and the Marseille Stoa Agency, just before the ascent towards the Saint-Charles station. In an attempt to reclaim a neglected centre, the new school wants to foster the urbanization that the site lacks, irrigated by imposing infrastructures, a port open to the Mediterranean, and railways and motorways providing connections to the north.
The program alone evokes a return to the city, bringing together three distinct institutions, the National School of Architecture of Marseille (ensa.m), the local branch of the National Landscape School of Versailles (ENSP-VM) and the Urban Design Institute. and Regional Planning (IUAR). The project of the team composed of NP2F, Point Supreme Architects, Marion Bernard Architects, Odile Seyler/Jacques Lucan, and Atelier Roberta, is porous, shaped by interaction with the city.
The project aims above all to answer the fundamental question of what an architecture school should (or could) be today. While the Marseille School of Architecture, designed by the architect René Egger, has existed for more than fifty years on the Lumine campus in the Calanque Park, consider its return to the center by linking it with two other institutions linked to city and landscape planning, bringing together nearly 1,300 students and more than 350 teachers and researchers, naturally raises the question of its role, and this at different levels.
The project is the result of the collective work of several agencies whose styles are in themselves different despite their shared Mediterranean origins from Marseille, Nice and Athens, work supported by the architectural historian Jacques Lucan (who sadly passed away on 8 October). . The desire to offer an educational system open to the outside, specific to the agora in the design of shared spaces, and ensuring a sense of utopian community for these three different areas of study is shared here.
The school is located in an elevated position, taking advantage of the urban panorama, and then appears as a statement in favor of the essentials: the concrete dom-inu structure is raised on four levels and consists of cylindrical columns, bridge-to-bridge cellular panels, housing removable wooden interior partitions. Three buildings arranged around a Y-shaped void are distributed as follows on the sloping ground: to the west, the ground floor opens onto the Porte d’Aix square, to the south, the first floor onto Boulevard Charles-Nédélec, and to the south-east it joins Avenue Joseph Piaggi the second.
The architects’ decision was not to assign a foundation to each of these three blocks, but to define them, on the contrary, by a program element: thus the ascending bar of the staircase houses the workshops, while the other two rectangular volumes accommodate the common and research spaces. The ceiling heights diverge and generate contrasting spaces: the base and attic effectively provide double heights with the mezzanine of the workshops located on the upper floor. The terraces placed in the centre, in continuation of the entrance courtyard, follow the slope of the ground and can merge to form a large room open to the outside.
Expression is in the details
Shown here is the rational structure of the project decorated with many details. The three modules, linked together by wide corridors and small squares, provide outdoor workspaces designed in layers. The concrete canopies along the library, or the transparent balustrades of the stairs, also break up the overall appearance of the entire library. Finally, the fine details, such as the white concrete bearing traces of formwork stuck to the white-painted wood panels, and finally the dark cafeteria tiles.
Finally, the project respects the principles of climate architecture with the façade set back to the south and west, allowing the building to protect itself from the sun’s rays, and active panels that cool the interior spaces using geothermal energy, complemented by giant ceiling fans.
“The IMVT concept is not one that is compact and closed in on itself, which would protect itself from the gaze of others. The IMVT concept is a totality that is open, that wants to open up, that allows its versatility to shine, that allows the inside to breathe outward, and that resolutely opens out toward the city.” To receive all echoes.
Project management: OPPIC
Project management: Agent Architects NP2F (François Chasse, Nicolas Guerin, Fabrice Long and Paul Maitre Devallon) associated with the architect Marion Bernard (Manon Gillet and Sylvain Bérard), Point Superior (Konstantinos Pantazis and Marianna Renzou), Atelier Roberta (Céline Auburnias, Alice Mahin and Chloe Sanson, landscape architects), Jacques Lucan, architect, historian
With: DVD, Alto Engineering, VPEAS, Puisz, 8-18
Roof area: 12,500 m² (+ 8,500 m² outdoor space)
Cost: 26 million euros
Image credits: Maxime Delvaux