Smartsea
Pierre Quintrand

Smartsea, leading figure in the Smartseille eco-district

Ante Prima as PR agency

In April 2023, the delivery of the Smartsea office building designed by the Carta-Reichen et Robert architectural firm and the EGR architectural studio completes the Smartseille eco-district and inaugurates the first episode of the "ÉcoCité Euroméditerranée". 

As a new piece in the city's profile, Smartsea punctuates the maritime façade, the large linear stretch from the old port to Estaque. Facing the great landscape, the building composes this magnificent and constraining territory facing the sea, the highway and the railway. Taking place on the grounds of industrial wasteland, it embodies this change of paradigm, of the city's development towards the north.

photo_credit Giaime Meloni
Giaime Meloni

Its architecture reveals an abstract rational structure that takes its reality in its thickness depending on its orientation. Engaged in a dialogue with its environment, it echoes the large infrastructures of the harbour and the factories that shape the territory. The strong presence of the highway footbridge amplifies this infrastructural character.
 
Smartsea is a true signal of the Smartseille district, revealing itself through the use of light and shadows on the façade, which magnifies its mineral structure and reinforces its Mediterranean character.

Key figures : 

- 10,000 m² of flexible and functional office space
- 8 levels, divisible into independent floors
- 400 m² of outdoor terraces including 1 rooftop
- 850 m² of business premises
- 88 parking spaces in a shared car park

photo_credit Giaime Meloni
Giaime Meloni

Architectural composition

The building is divided into three volumes and rests on a base. The gaps between the volumes allow them to be differentiated and to highlight the accesses to the building and to the interior of the block. 

The angle volume is characterised by its great verticality, accentuated by the recess of the lateral volumes. The extension of the concrete frame in the attic forms its crown, a signal for the whole block. This crown responds to the two-storey base which frames the regular body of the building. From the highway footbridge, it acquires a special status, framing the hills and carrying the gaze to the territorial scale. It resonates with the other events on the maritime façade, such as the Mediterranean and CMA-CGM towers, but also industrial buildings such as the Panzani factory, the large sheds and port infrastructures.

The writing of the building affirms its structure. The post-to-post vitrage highlights the load-bearing concrete framework. Lightweight precast concrete infill elements form the spandrels and mullions. They consist of frames, encompassing a fine undulated matrix. The repetition of this structural framework organises the composition. It highlights the singular elements, stretching towards the sky through its crown and giving greater thickness to its two-level substructure.

The strategic position of the building on the street André Allar, at the corner of the neighbourhood, allows the interior of the block to be optimised and provides a landscaped space while protecting it from the disturbances of the city. The sharp angle between Rue André Allar and Rue Paul Brutus accentuates the perspectives of the building, giving it a dynamic character.

photo_credit Pierre Quintrand
Pierre Quintrand

The recesses in the attic offer two large terraces, opening up to the wider area, towards the sea and Marseille on one side, and towards the north and the "Massif de l'Étoile" on the other. Inside the block, two complementary staircases animate the facades and offer small terraces on each floor.

photo_credit Pierre Quintrand
Pierre Quintrand

To adapt to the Mediterranean climate, the building benefits from passive features. The external structure thickens according to the orientation of the facades, to break up the light and offer a salutary shade, particularly in summer.

The frame defines the openings by highlighting a structural exoskeleton. This device is repeated in a homogeneous way on all the façades, transforming itself to gain in thickness when in contact with the light. As a result, the structure on the north façade is very smooth, conforming to a very urban alignment. On the contrary, it develops on the other highly exposed façades, up to one metre deep on the western maritime façade. The structure thus limits solar gain and forms frames towards the distance, the sea and the islands of Frioul. 

The statement of the building comes from this mineral mass, yet limited to the necessary dimensions. By using little resources for its expression and acclimatisation, it responds to the canons of Mediterranean architecture.

photo_credit Giaime Meloni
Giaime Meloni

The building takes advantage of the surrounding resources by being connected to the Massileo urban geothermal network. Smartsea is connected to the various buildings in the neighbourhood by a network of pipes that allow for thermal exchanges between them. This innovation is the result of a partnership between Eiffage and EDF Optimal Solutions (now Dalkia Smart Building), it consists of a tempered water circuit whose balancing source is seawater drawn from the medium depths of the port basins, without disturbing the activities of the Grand Port Maritime de Marseille (GPMM) or the local natural conditions. 

Thus, any need for cooling or heating uses the excess heat or cold produced by the neighbours first. The distribution of surface areas between offices and housing ensures an optimum balance. It allows local self-consumption and avoids waste.

When the needs are no longer balanced within the eco-district, the loop rejects or draws the excess heat from the sea, which serves as a large-scale natural balance source. 

The use of 75% recycled aluminium joinery, the connection to the seawater loop and the green roof are just a few examples of Smartsea's environmentally friendly approach, which has been recognised by the double NF HQE certification for tertiary buildings - "Very high performance" level - and for sustainable buildings - "Excellent E2C1" level.

photo_credit Giaime Meloni
Giaime Meloni

Programme 
Bureaux, activités

Lieu 
Écoquartier Smartseille, Marseille
Maître d’ouvrage 
Eiffage Immobilier
Investisseur 
Groupama Gan Reim / ANRU
Surface 
12 000 m²
Budget 
15 000 000 €
Architectes mandataires 
Carta-Reichen et Robert
Co-traitants, EGR Atelier d’Architecture


Équipe 
SECMO, INGEROP, EODD, LASA
Calendrier opérationnel 
Concours
2016
Début des études 
Mai 2018
Permis de construire
 Octobre 2018
Démarrage du chantier 
Juillet 2020
Livraison 
Avril 2023

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