A New Architectural Anthem For Marseille And Its Metropolitan Area Story by Ateliers Jean Nouvel A New Architectural Anthem For Marseille And Its Metropolitan Area
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Mermet has been designing and manufacturing hi-tech fabrics to provide visual and thermal comfort to building occupants.
False floor
Vertical transportation
by Kone

A New Architectural Anthem For Marseille And Its Metropolitan Area

Ateliers Jean Nouvel as Architects

La Marseillaise honors the Mediterranean city not only through its name, but through the colors on its facade. The gradation of 27 shades of blue, white and red evokes the colors typical of the region – the blue of the sky, the white of the Calanques coastline and Provençal landscape, and the red of the city’s roofs. La Marseillaise is unique in its commitment to prioritizing architectural and community identity over optimization of square footage, as well using cutting edge sustainability technologies to reflect current uses of the city while also anticipating future uses, namely smart, adapted, responsible and sustainable urbanization. 

More from the Architects:

Marseille, a muse for feats of architectural daring

We do not always realize it, but the port city of Marseille is a fertile ground for exceptional architectural creations. An area that has inspired and attracted the greatest architects throughout history. In keeping with this heritage, La Marseillaise by Jean Nouvel forms part of an urban landscape marked by striking buildings, such as Cité Radieuse by Le Corbusier, Fernand Pouillon’s apartment blocks in the Old Port, Mucem by Rudy Ricciotti, Villa Méditerranée by Stefano Boeri, Sir Norman Foster’s Ombrière – a symbol of the renewal of the Old Port – or even the FRAC contemporary art center by Kengo Kuma. Located at Les Quais d’Arenc, facing the sea and reaching to the sky, La Marseillaise by Jean Nouvel is the little sister of Zaha Hadid’s CMA CGM Tower, located just opposite. It also neighbors Les Docks de la Joliette, which were renovated by the architect Eric Castaldi in the 1990s and then restructured more recently by the Italian agency Alfonso Femia 5+1AA, as well as the Balthazar apartment block by Roland Carta, the architect who worked with Rudy Ricciotti on the renovation of Fort Saint-Jean (the historic part of Mucem).

It is also close to the Euromed Center, by the Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas, which forms the cornerstone of the Euroméditerranée urban development plan for Marseille.

Alongside Sir Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid, Jean Nouvel is the third winner of the Pritzker prize (the most prestigious international award for architecture) to contribute to the regeneration of the Marseille sea front.

La Marseillaise, a flagship architectural project for the largest urban development in southern Europe, Euroméditerranée, and the second act of major renovation project Les Quais d’Arenc.

La Marseillaise marks the second act of a broader housing and renovation project, namely Les Quais d’Arenc, undertaken by Constructa, an artisan developer and the premier independent developer in France. The architectural collection Les Quais d’Arenc is also one of the key projects of the Marseille-Euroméditerranée program, which is no less than the largest urban and economic development program currently under way in southern Europe. Euroméditerranée occupies an area of 480 hectares at the heart of the Marseille metropolitan area, located between the commercial port, the Old Port and the high-speed train station.

A symbol of a future-facing region, Les Quais d’Arenc bridges the past and the future in Marseille by offering a new perspective on the city and creating a neighborhood undergoing full reinvention for its residents and businesses. Above all, Les Quais d’Arenc is the physical representation of a lofty metropolitan vision. A project that is at the same time societal, aesthetic, environmental and economic, it offers the Marseille region a unique draw, as much thanks to its entirely new architectural collection as its advantageous position.

Les Quais d’Arenc is the new economic pulse of Marseille. More than that, by rediscovering its historic function as a village, it will become a new living space. Designed and developed in four acts, this renovation of the Marseille sea front at Les Quais d’Arenc began with the construction of the Balthazar apartment block by Roland Carta, delivered in 2014. La Marseillaise, an exceptional tower designed by Jean Nouvel, due to be delivered in September 2018 and inaugurated in October 2018, marks the second act of the Les Quais d’Arenc project.

La Marseillaise is the latest architectural high point, visible from both the sea and the city interior. It leaves a stamp on Marseille’s 21st-century architectural heritage and provides it with a “tool” in direct response to the economic issues and ambitions of France’s second city. Together with the other two towers at Les Quais d’Arenc, Porte Bleue and H99 (indicating its height of 99 meters), the third and fourth acts of Les Quais d’Arenc respectively, it forms the future Marseille skyline, redesigning the maritime face of the Mediterranean city and shaping its new identity.

Les Quais d’Arenc: a history

Les Quais d’Arenc reflects the ambition of a region, a city and a group of architects that share a desire to create a dialog between city and sea. Positive energies that, together, bring the possibility of a concrete utopia, a global concept – societal, aesthetic, environmental, economic… and which provide a unique urban response, a beating heart that pumps oxygen into the area, generating uses and a new neighborhood. Throughout the ages, Arenc has always drawn people in to Marseille. With an advantageous geographical position on the coast, close to the town center, the Arenc neighborhood is historically the beating heart of Marseille life. At the start of the 19th century, Arenc was a highly desirable vacation location. It was the site of one of the city's most beautiful beaches. At the weekend, all Marseille came here to enjoy sea food and relax with friends and family.

Initially a working-class area, the beach rapidly acquired a certain prestige. In those days, tourism guides presented it as one of the unmissable destinations of Marseille. During the Restoration (1814-1830), sea bathing was very popular among members of high society. This period saw the development of beach huts at Arenc, as well as luxury hotel and bathing establishments in the neighborhood, which contributed to its reputation. Even at this time, Arenc had an ideal location at the entrance to the city. Arenc beach was served by imperial route 8, which connected Paris and Lyon, and this easy access contributed to its success.

At the end of the 19th century, Arenc took on a new role, with the construction of the new port at Marseille, a city that had since its earliest days centered on maritime trade, its main economy. Due to this new role and its industrial growth, Arenc underwent a transformation and developed into the economic lung of the region, thereby providing work for generations of Marseillais and contributing to the wealth of the city. Today, with Les Quais d’Arenc, Constructa is extending this history, reinventing a new living space by building a major economic hub for the region on an international scale.

La Marseillaise, a new architectural anthem for the region

Known as La Marseillaise, the tower honors the Mediterranean city not only through its name, but through the colors on its facade. The gradation of 27 shades of blue, white and red evokes the colors typical of the region – the blue of the sky, the white of the Calanques coastline and Provençal landscape, and the red of the city’s roofs.

Two partners committed to an exceptional tower

The seed of La Marseillaise was sown when Constructa directly approached Jean Nouvel, who was called in by the property development group to create an identity for the building destined to host the largest set of offices in the city, extending across more than 35,000 m². In the world of professional real estate developers, it was an audacious choice. In general, it is the optimization of square footage that wins out – the ratio of ground space to tenants. Constructa, faithful to its artisan vocation and making the know-how and value of the project twin drivers in its development, sought to demonstrate – notably through the Les Quais d’Arenc project – that the architect was central to its work. “It is possible to reconcile exceptional architecture and the profitability of a project – you need to trust to the architects, to creativity, to beauty. These are the essential partners for projects that succeed in “making a mark”, in the literal sense of the term, on a region,” explains Marc Pietri, President of the Group. It has clearly been a success, with the tower fully sold out before it has even opened.

Completed within a shorter time frame than planned, La Marseillaise also represents a successful partnership between developer and architect. Since the beginning, the President of Constructa, Marc Pietri, and the architect, Jean Nouvel, have worked together in a relationship of mutual trust. “Jean Nouvel set the mood and everyone else followed. Often, on such complex operations, it is easy to end up fighting,” says Marc Pietri. “This tower is the perfect outcome of what we had envisioned.” “With Jean Nouvel, we didn’t need to call each other all the time – we understood each other without speaking.”

Committed to respect for the region and the desire to reflect this, Marc Pietri found an ideal partner in Jean Nouvel, an architect who describes himself as a “situationist”. From its conception, Jean Nouvel’s architectural project has once again been directly inspired by its environment, considering not only the Marseille metropolitan area, but also its social, aesthetic, historic and climatic environment, among others. “Contextuality is my central principle,” says Jean Nouvel, who, just like Constructa, wished to create a real continuum. “Above all, I’m always pleased to find a project owner who respects my work.” Xavier Huillard, CEO of Vinci Construction France, was quick to join in with this ambitious and compelling vision by becoming the project constructor.

La Marseillaise by Jean Nouvel

Large cities have towers close to their center in order to avoid expanding too far, and to limit daily commutes. They use existing service infrastructure and transportation systems, naturally making them sustainable and urban in all the senses of these two terms. This observation explains the growth, by the sea and in the heart of the Euroméditerranée development, of the family of tall silhouettes created by these various towers. The eldest has already been easily identifiable for several years – it was designed by Zaha Hadid for CMA CGM. In the wake of this first beacon, three other silhouettes stand out. Two little sisters, designed by Jean-Baptiste Pietri and Yves Lion, offer apartments with fine, uninterrupted views over the sea. As for the big sister, the third, her ambition is to provide space to work in the Marseille sky. My job, it seems, is to give her the best possible genes!

Towers all over the world look too alike. They often appear interchangeable – they could exist anywhere. Too rarely do they describe their city. They are tall, but anonymous. Sleek parallelepipeds, they reflect a great deal behind their tooshiny curtain walls. Informed by this awareness and these critical considerations, my proposal is a tower that is singular. Its ambition is to belong clearly to the dense Mediterranean sea air. It displays its desire to play with the sun and draw shadows on the sky… But only light shadows, simple geometries to create complex mathematical games. And, yes, always simplicity and complexity…

I imagine this tower. I speak of it. I call it La Marseillaise. Be assured, however, that there is nothing aggressive about it. Yes, it is concrete, but this is disarmed concrete – lightweight concrete, fiber concrete – as light as an unfinished architectural drawing... The kind that can be seen on computer screens, showing only strokes and lines... The work of a carefree architect who doesn’t know how to finish it off!

And yes, the beauty of the sketch, of the painting that leaves some of the canvas on show… An absence that becomes another realm of the imagination. La Marseillaise claims to be an anthem to the light – a march in step, a stairway, an ascent to walkways towards or in the sky. The pleasures of towers are those of a beautiful lookout and a feeling of belonging to the atmosphere… Of being both inside and outside… Inside in mists, in the rain or in the cloudy night… Outside when the glass disappears and all that remains is a mathematical outline punctuated with lines of shadow and light, the awning blending into the ceiling, the same colors passing, inside to out, to better blend and erase the transparent physical limits of the glass. Lights and colors interfere, and while La Marseillaise will truly be blue-whitered, it will replace France's blue with sky blue, royal white with the impure white of the horizon or the occasional cloud, and blood red with the ocher and brick reds present in the surrounding roofs and walls. Seen from the outside, it aims to imprint its lines on the Marseille sky, blend transparencies and reflections, inhabit this piece of sky checkered with pale shadows and pearly lights, trees and figures, of whose existence we are never certain, as they are in the heavens.


Designed by Jean Nouvel, La Marseillaise marks a real turning point for the Mediterranean city of Marseille. Not only does this 135-meter office block demonstrate architectural and technical prowess – it is also a sustainable economic and social project. La Marseillaise will have 35,000 m² of office space, thereby providing the city with a professional property vital to any metropolis with international aspirations.

Although La Marseillaise is an office building, it is much more than a simple real estate operation. The tower has emerged as the symbol of a new aspiring neighborhood; by joining a skyline already formed by Zaha Hadid, La Marseillaise becomes a reference point for the inhabitants of the former industrial zone that, just 10 years ago, was referred to as “challenging”. Bordered by two superelevated highway ramps and the port terminal for ferries departing for the Mediterranean, the coastline of Marseille is undergoing transformation from a crossing place to a commercial and residential quarter served by the tramway. This metamorphosis of the urban fabric of the city forms part of the projects supported by Euroméditerranée (Euromed), an enormous operation to reclaim southern Europe, which has played a highly active role in the regeneration of Marseille and notably its coastline.

Unlike Zaha Hadid’s tower, which acts as the headquarters of the world’s leading maritime transport group CMA CGM, delivered in 2011, La Marseillaise will not be reserved for just one company. With 12 floors already claimed by the urban community, Jean Nouvel’s tower will host nine tenants and receive visits from professionals from other companies, who will be received in the building for meetings. Facing the sea, the tower suggests an openness to the exterior that is not merely allegorical – La Marseillaise seeks to be a place that is experienced by the inhabitants of the region. Just like Pouillon, Le Corbusier and Ricciotti before him, Jean Nouvel is fascinated by the landscape of Marseille and the surrounding countryside. This initial fascination can be seen in the way in which the architect uses high-performance concrete. As for the backdrop of the Marseille landscape, this has played a determining role in the design of the project – La Marseillaise embodies the desire to build a tower that draws the eye without compromising the panorama.

The facades are made from concrete painted in 30 shades, with the gradation of colors lending the construction a singular depth. The awnings integrated into the facade make it possible to opt for clear glass, an undeniable advantage for the users, who will thereby be able to benefit from the natural Mediterranean light, which will enter their offices without being altered by the tinting usually employed in this context. Borrowing from the approaches typically used in optical and kinetic art, at a distance, the 30 colors of the facade will create an optical illusion as the tower blends in to either the sky or the ocher of the Marseille roofs. Conversely, on approaching the tower, the shades and the morphological complexity of the facades will be fully revealed.

La Marseillaise meets the highest current environmental standards, with innovative air-conditioning, reusable and sustainable materials, paint resistant to aging, improved acoustics thanks to absorbent spaces and energy recovery systems, among other features. La Marseillaise has been designed to meet the most up-todate international standards in terms of planning as well as the environment. In this way, the tower has confirmed its position at the cutting edge of sustainable development by aiming to achieve, for the first time in France, environmental excellence, with “Excellent” HQE® and LEED Gold environmental certification, promoting the rationalization of operating costs and real competitiveness in terms of cost per workstation.

In addition, the tower is connected to the Thassalia marine geothermal power station launched by Cofely, a subsidiary of GDF SUEZ, making it the first high-rise building to harness this type of technology, which will use marine thermal energy to cool the building. This modern, economic and sustainable solution will make La Marseillaise one of the most high-performance towers in France. A building designed with the environment in mind, highperformance equipment and resolutely sustainable materials are the assets of La Marseillaise that make it a project respectful of its environment.

As Didier Brault, the Site Manager for La Marseillaise, explains, the tower air-conditioning system is connected to a seawater loop that takes water directly from Mediterranean, making it possible to use existing cold water without the need for excessive electricity consumption. This is an innovation for the city of Marseille. Regarding heating, the building is very well insulated, with the loss of heat and energy limited as much as possible. The tower also has solar panels, which chiefly supply the company restaurant.

Reusable materials were used for the La Marseillaise project, notably eco-certified concretes, which are ecological concretes produced by reusing waste, as well as the ultrahigh- performance fiber-reinforced concrete (UHPFRC) produced by MED PREFA in Marignane. The external awnings were made from a material called Ductal, developed by the Lafarge group (this was also used in Marseille for the decorative mesh that covers Mucem). This material is rarely used for facades, and in the case of La Marseillaise, it is the first time that the material has been used to create a sealed, refractory facade. Numerous tests were performed before the use of these innovative materials was definitively confirmed.

A responsible tower: wellbeing at work

Numerous services will be offered to the users of La Marseillaise, ensuring it meets international standards.

While the design of the building has never lost sight of the needs of local residents, it has also taken into account the quality of life of its tenants. By providing specific facilities to ensure a comfortable working environment in the digital era, La Marseillaise favors ownership of its spaces by its occupants, who will have access to a restaurant as well as a company daycare center, located on the third floor. The comfort of tenants has been taken into consideration in the design of these services: the restaurant is located on the second and third floors, at a height of around 20 meters, and, most importantly, facing the sea. Sensitive to the way in which working habits are changing, the tower offers a range of spaces that can be used by the same person at different times of day.

The building offers great flexibility of use. Comprising platforms that can be arranged according to tenants’ needs, the structure is designed to present the fewest possible limitations. The developer required platforms measuring 1,200 m² for each level, an optimum size for offices. In order to further accentuate the link between the inside and outside, Jean Nouvel designed colored ceilings as a continuity of the facade. The principle of transparency and openness suggested by the tower’s structure has also been naturally adopted by the future occupants – the occasional partitions added to the spaces are nearly all made from glass.

There are a range of services for optimum wellbeing at work:

• An inter-company restaurant measuring 2,800 m² with a capacity of 1,500 covers, located at levels 2 and 3, open to all tenants. This will notably offer a high-end brasserie, a snack area and a work cafe.

• A daycare facility for young children, reserved for tower tenants, with extended opening hours to allow employees to work in peace.

• A main reception staffed by receptionists from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday, with a security post and video surveillance system.

• A concierge service providing dry-cleaning, a mailbox, reservations and other shopping services. • Room service for work lunches in the offices and event management.

• Five businesses are planned for street level, covering a total surface area of 300 m², to bring the ground floor of the tower to life.

• 350 parking spaces available in the public Quais d’Arenc car park, run by Vinci Park.

The 29th and 30th floors will be dedicated to the business center and Provence Business Sky Lounge, run by WTC Marseille Provence, which will give local, national and international companies a space to receive clients and prospective clients in an exceptional setting measuring 2,300 m².

Les Quais d’Arenc: a new dynamic for Marseille

Led by Constructa, Les Quais d’Arenc, by recreating the city within the city, digs down into the past, the wealth of its history to build a new living quarter valued by the Marseillais and extending well beyond the city limits. Strengthened by this heritage, Les Quais d’Arenc is a symbol of an attractive, innovative, future-facing region. It links the old, the new and the future Marseille, between yesterday and tomorrow, giving a new perspective on the city. It is the physical embodiment of a symbol, a lofty metropolitan vision. The attribute of a metropolis providing itself with an unprecedented architectural ensemble, this visionary project responds to a context, an epoch, new uses. It is not the project of one man, nor of a group, but that of a city and a region. The creation of Les Quais d’Arenc is unique, logical, necessary and unavoidable.

Much more than a new neighborhood, Les Quais d’Arenc completes Euroméditerranée by focusing its energies and offering the region an audacious attraction, as much through its unique architectural imprint as its advantageous position. Just like a play in four acts, Les Quais d’Arenc is the symbiosis of four "actors" working together to write a shared history: Balthazar, La Marseillaise, Porte Bleue and H99. The first act is the "Balthazar" services building, followed by the second act, delivered in September 2018: the tower known as "La Marseillaise", offering a unique range of offices, shops and bespoke services.

“Porte Bleue”, meanwhile, is due to be launched at the end of September and constitutes the third act, with a prestigious residential offer and a hotel residence with a high level of service. Finally, the fourth act will complete the ensemble with the H99 tower, exclusively composed of premium apartments with an exceptional view over Marseille.

An innovative architectural collection, the like of which has never been seen before, which reflects the great architects orchestrating each act: Yves Lion was responsible for the initial project design and the layout of the mixed development zone, while Roland Carta made his mark on the first act with “Balthazar”. Jean Nouvel will soon inaugurate the second act with “La Marseillaise”, and Jean-Baptiste Pietri will unveil “Porte Bleue” and H99 in the coming months. These four renowned talents testify to the ambition of this unique project, which could not have happened elsewhere. With a perfectly contextualized urban, economic and historic approach, Les Quais d’Arenc has been dreamed up, designed and realized in perfect harmony with the current uses of the city, while anticipating future uses.

These four buildings create a dialog among themselves and form a link to the inhabited parts of Euroméditerranée. In the continuation of La Joliette, Les Docks, the Euromed Center, the Silo, CMA CGM and the future Pathé‑Gaumont multiplex, Les Quais d’Arenc lends structure to an attractive new living quarter by providing an innovative urban response to present and future challenges.

Employment agreement

Economic organizations, institutions, the entrepreneurial world and employment support agencies made a commitment on November 18, 2013, by signing an employment agreement for La Marseillaise. This has resulted in the creation of 900 jobs in the construction and operation of the tower, notably in the construction and service sectors.

A site that tells its own story

“We are just trying to create a feeling of belonging and a pleasure in being there, to develop the simple but positive values of joy and enthusiasm. A project like this has to generate enthusiasm.” Jean Nouvel

Before becoming an architectural symbol of the city, La Marseillaise first belonged to the workers, companies and artisans who participated in its creation. “The very structure of the tower is, in some way, a homage to the know-how of each person involved,” explains Didier Brault, Project Manager at Ateliers Jean Nouvel.

The facade is emblematic of this approach, as much through its colors as through its structure. The thousands of models that make up the facade, sometimes more than two tonnes per model, were painted individually by painters in a workshop next to the worksite. For the workers this was an unusual task, to say the least. Nothing was left to chance – each side of the parts had to be painted a precise shade, which would then contribute to the set of nuances, one of the striking elements of the tower. This work was far from a typical production line, demanding greater investment by artisans and thereby generating greater enthusiasm. The very structure of the facade remains visible in its entirety, an allegory of openness and transparency that reflects the nature of the project.

The choice of béton brut for the common areas at all levels of the tower also forms part of this approach – the concrete is shown unfinished, with all its characteristics and all its faults, testifying to the production process. In addition, the unfinished side of the concrete has been accentuated by poured glass cabochons made by the master glassmakers at the La Rochère crystal glassworks (in the Vosges, the only one still in operation today) and inserted into the holes in the concrete. By filling the hollow sides of the concrete, the poured glass provides a highly original contrast, contributing to the identity of La Marseillaise.

Anchored in the region, La Marseillaise is a stakeholder in sustainable development. Topped by a garden, the tower terrace features Mediterranean pines. The trees had to be sourced from Tuscany, as large nurseries growing Mediterranean trees can only be found near Pistoia, but they are the same species that grow in the Calanques region. Planting the trees presented a considerable logistical challenge. Selected from the Pistoia region three years ago, they were installed at a height of 130 meters by Pinçon, an expert in landscape creation, which had to tackle vertical transportation, the technical complexity of which was increased by the framework of the building. The decision to plant the trees also posed safety issues, but the concerns of the fire service were laid to rest by landscapers, gardeners and foresters specializing in this domain.

Outreach to local schools – the children “growing up” alongside the tower

Since the start of the work, children from local schools have grown up alongside La Marseillaise. The Ruffi and Robert Schumann elementary schools have been particularly closely involved. In 2016, on the forecourt of Les Quais d’Arenc, 50 children aged 9 to 11, supervised by artists, participated in the creation of a mural to make the area more pleasant during the building work. This provided an opportunity for meetings and discussions about a project that would be key in the regeneration of the neighborhood.

In 2017, pupils from the same schools participated in the topping-out ceremony. After having imagined it in 2016, they had the chance, during this first real visit, to discover and draw what they had seen grow up in their neighborhood. “Children, we wanted you to be there, so you could understand that you have grown up with a tower that is a lesson in humanity, diversity and shared experiences. Today I would like to thank these 350 companions – they are the heroes, the workers!” Marc Pietri

In 2018, these pupils will be invited to attend the inauguration of the tower, which has grown up alongside them, becoming the symbol of their region.

Constructa – an artisan developer, a responsible developer and the premier independent developer in France

Constructa is an independent group that has been active on the real estate market for over 55 years. Its know-how can be seen in three areas:

• Real estate development: Constructa supports local authorities with major urban regeneration operations and the creation of accommodation, offices and hotels.

• Marketing: specializing in sales of new residential real estate to the general public, Constructa also completes real estate investment transactions for corporate investors.

• Real-estate asset management: Constructa is chiefly active in the service sector, for high-net-worth corporate organizations or individuals.

Constructa projects have received recognition from across the profession in numerous categories, both in France and in the United States, demonstrating the group’s extensive knowhow in areas including real estate promotion, marketing, entry-level properties, asset management, complex renovation, high-rise buildings and urban redevelopment, to name but a few. As an example, Les Docks Village in Marseille has been awarded nearly a dozen international prizes: the ULI Global Award for Excellence, the MIPIM Award for the best shopping center, the Mapic Award for the best retail urban project, the Italian ceramics prize, the PLAN Award, the LEAF Awards commercial building of the year, the Best of the Best Architecture prize at the Iconic Awards... the list goes on.

Les Quais d’Arenc – a flagship project for Constructa

A generator of wealth for the whole region, Les Quais d’Arenc, led by Constructa, has created, is creating and will create several thousands of jobs. In total, more than 3,000 jobs will be generated by the renovation of this neighborhood, thanks to companies making firm commitments in favor of employability and equal opportunities by fighting against discrimination. Les Quais d’Arenc is the ambition of the region, a city, a group of architects.

Positive energies that, together, bring the possibility of a concrete utopia, a global concept – societal, aesthetic, environmental, economic… and which provide a global urban response, a beating heart that pumps oxygen into the area, creating a new neighborhood between city and sea. With innovation as a cornerstone, Les Quais d’Arenc provides a response to today's needs and anticipates those of tomorrow, namely smart, adapted, optimized, responsible and sustainable urbanization. The closing sequence of Euroméditerranée I, Les Quais d’Arenc is a link between the old and new Marseille, a new point of view, the physical representation of a symbol. A play in four acts: Balthazar, La Marseillaise, Porte Bleue and H99. It is the continuation of the urban transformation of an ambitious region equipping itself with the attributes of a global metropolis, and one of the concrete expressions of the strength of a city that is rising and accelerating.


VINCI is a global player in concessions and construction, employing nearly 191,000 people in some 100 countries, with a revenue of €40.3 billion in 2013. Its mission is to design, finance, build and operate infrastructure and facilities that help improve daily life and mobility for all. Because it believes in all-round performance, above and beyond economic and financial results, VINCI is committed to operating in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.

Because its projects are in the public interest, VINCI considers that reaching out to all its stakeholders and engaging in dialog with them is essential in the conduct of its business activities. VINCI’s goal is to build long-term value in this way for its customers, shareholders, employees and partners, and for society at large.

A subsidiary of the VINCI group and the leading French building and civil engineering group, VINCI Construction France places its know-how as a general and turnkey contractor at the service of public project owners and private operators, together with its local-global organizational model, the resources of its 450 branches across the globe and the professionalism of its 23,500 employees, in order to design, finance, build and operate any construction project. VINCI Construction France is active in all construction, civil engineering and hydraulics disciplines, as well as specialty fields.


Arcora as Facades

La Marseilles tower has a unique coloured facade, made of fibre-reinforced concrete. The façade demanded durability of materials to meet both aesthetic and environmental challenged. Arcora worked with architects on material development to provide solutions that translated the architectural intention. 

Each façade required a specific treatment depending on geographical orientation. South facing facades are made of sun shades in fibre reinforced concrete, allowing implementation of ribbon windows. Northeast facades (also fibre reinfoced concrete) create an orthogonal fold protecting glazed parts from low sunlight. Sun-shade elements are painted in different shades of blue, white and red (reflecting Marseilles heritage) creating an orthogonal fold made of horizontal full or open shelves.

More from the Engineers:

This emblematic tower designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel has a unique coloured facade, made of fibre-reinforced concrete.


Arcora has developed specific solutions for all the challenges resulting from this project.

According to their geographical orientation, each facade has required a specific treatment.

Sun-shades elements are painted in different colours (shades of blue, white and red) creating an orthogonal fold made of horizontal full or open shelves.


The South facing facades are made of sun-shades in fibre-reinforced concrete, allowing the implementation of ribbon windows.

North-East facades are also made of fibre-reinforced concrete, creating an orthogonal fold protecting glazed parts of low sunlight.


Arcora supported architects on the material development, meeting client needs regarding durability demand of the facade, in a maritime environment with the high rise building on the sea side. The solutions translate the architectural intention and the energetic performance challenges of the envelop. We are very proud to be part of this impressive project.

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Official opening of the Serpentine Pavilion 2024
11 Jun 2024 News
Serpentine Pavilion 2024 officially opens

The new Serpentine Pavilion was officially opened on June 7 in London. This 23rd edition of the annu... More

Teğet designs visitor center for Neolithic Çatalhöyük archeological site
10 Jun 2024 News
Teğet designs visitor center for Neolithic Çatalhöyük archeological site

Istanbul-based Teğet Architecture has designed a visitor center for Çatalhöyük, a h... More

Wonder Bridge by SPF:a: Vital transportation link stands as a symbol of innovation and artistic expression
9 Jun 2024 News
Wonder Bridge by SPF:a: Vital transportation link stands as a symbol of innovation and artistic expression

Spanning a busy highway in Paso Robles, California, Wonder Bridge by acclaimed architecture firm SPF... More

Key recent projects by MVRDV
7 Jun 2024 News
Key recent projects by MVRDV

MVRDV is a global architecture studio established in 1993 by Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, and Nathalie... More