How to describe an intense, complicated project like the one just completed at Les Docks in Marseille, one of the largest buildings in France recently completely renovated for new use by the painstaking, knowledgeable intervention of architect practice 5+1AA? Simple: with a letter.
Giorgio Tartaro rights to Alfonso Femia
You asked me to assess, even harshly, an important piece of your personal and professional lives. I’ll answer with impressions, the way I usually do when trying to formulate what I think; I let things flow - a flow of consciousness, understanding and acknowledgement.
The first thing that comes to mind. Others follow.
The archetypal letter.
Status quo ante
Went by car from the MuCEM, the harbour, Foster, other projects in the beehive of activity that is Marseille. Enter dark dusty worksite. Potential, what once was, plant and equipment being re-laid.
Couldn’t bring myself to believe that all 5+1AA was doing was a mere restoration job with some earth removal, everything based on those beautiful white tubes holding the plant and equipment. Had imagined a wider, more thoughtful intervention: a theme explained. You had talked once to me of a fantastic new life for these dark courtyards. But what I saw was a worksite, a dismal dark place. The size of the building and the way the project was to proceed would tell a very different story.
The surroundings, horror and splendour
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