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mucem museum

Rudy Ricciotti

mucem museum
By Rudy Ricciotti -

Never before has a museum been specifically dedicated to the cultures of the Mediterranean, despite their richness from the perspective of history and civilisation. Now the MuCEM will focus principally on that, from a comparative and multidisciplinary perspective in which Europe and the other continents bordering the Mediterranean will play a major role. The site chosen is the porto di Marsiglia, dove, accanto al fort Saint-Jean, anch'esso luogo di esposizione,trova posto the new museum built on the former J4 port pier by the architect Rudy Ricciotti in association with Roland Carta. Between city and sea, the building of 15,000 m2 contains 3,600 m² of exhibition space, a dedicated area for children, an auditorium with 335 seats for the presentation of lectures, performances, concerts, film series, a bookstore, a restaurant boasting a panoramic terrace and “behind the scenes“ all that is indispensable to a facility of this type: workshops, storage areas, offices, etc.. The level 1 hosts the 1 600 m2 Gallery of the Mediterranean, dedicated to the singularities of the Mediterranean world in all its diversity and complexity. This thematic gallery will be adjustable in its layout and is designed to be changed in the medium term (3 to 5 years). The level 2 hosts the temporary exhibition space, whom flexibility offers each exhibition/event a suitable space, between 300 m2 and 2,000 m2. “Views, sea, sun, minerality are orchestrated by a programme that became federal and cognitive. First of all a perfect square of 72 m per side, it is a classic plan, Latin, under the control of Pythagoras. Within this square, another of 52 m per side, comprising the exhibition and conference halls identified as being the heart of the museum. Around, above and below are the service areas. But between these areas and the heart, openings entirely bypass the central square and form interconnected spaces. More interested by the views of the fort, the sea or the port, the culturally overwhelmed visitor will choose this route. Along two interlacing ramps, he will then plunge into the imaginary of the tower of Babel or of a ziggurat in order to climb up to the rooftop and on to fort Saint-Jean. This peripheral loop will be a demuseumifying breathe, enveloped by the smells of the sea from the proximity to the moats, a pause to dispel any lingering doubts about the use of the history of our civilisations. The MuCEM will be a vertical Casbah. The tectonic choice of an exceptional concrete coming from the latest research by French industry, reducing the dimensions to little more than skin and bones, will affirm a mineral script under the high ramparts of fort Saint-Jean. This sole material in the colour of dust, matt, crushed by the light, distant from the brilliance and technological consumerism, will commend the dense and the delicate. The MuCEM sees itself evanescent in a landscape of stone and Orientalist through its fanning shadows. In the sky spanning the basin a flying carpet navigates towards the fort.” Rudy Ricciotti

Location: Marseille, France
Client: Ministère de la Culture
Completion: 2013
Gross Floor Area: 22.000 m2
Cost of Construction: 68.200.000 Euros
Architect: Rudy Ricciotti Architecte,
Associate Architect: C+T architecture
Main Contractor: Dumez-Freyssinet

BET Structure EXE and ATEX: Lamoureux & Ricciotti Ingenierie
Fluids: Carcia Ingenierie
Structural: Sica
Economist: Cec Salinesi
Acoustics: Thermibel
HQE: Adret
Landscaping: In Situ
Lighting: L’Observatoire
Photography: © Roland Halbe

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