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“La Porte Bleue” Residential complex

A Gateway onto the Mediterranean


“La Porte Bleue” Residential complex
By Diana Carta -
Marazzi, Schüco have participated in the project

Resembling a gateway onto the sea, PietriArchitectes’ project rises at the crossroads of multiple peoples and cultures. A part of a larger urban design in the Les Quais d’Arenc district of Marseille, comprising four buildings and called ZAC Euroméditerranée, it is surrounded by roads, docks and pedestrian paths, making it the first and last thing people see when they arrive or leave by land or sea.

The constant movement of these transitory flows interacts with the building’s volumetric progression; the façade’s unique composition shapes the sunlight at different hours of the day. Even if a previous project had already defined the structure’s base, the ideally extruded mass appears to be neither rigid nor monolithic; on the contrary, its nuanced composition, sinuous arches on the façade unfolding in a unique, three-dimensional way, comes alive. Rhythmically echoed on all four prospects, the porous quality of these architectural elements seems to evoke the notions of openness and “living together” that guide the entire building’s composition, at the same time symbolizing the unique character of the Phocaean city, known for diverse communities that have lived together since ancient times. 

Jean-Baptiste Pietri, founder of PietriArchitectes, envisioned creating a gateway connecting the city and the sea. Bearing this in mind, the selected arch design for the façade recalls Mediterranean architecture, reflecting the diversity of its cities and cultures. Framing the urban and maritime landscapes, these arches serve as a diaphragm between the spaces, between inside and outside.
At various points, numerous sinuous shapes frame the sea horizon: repeated in a modular variation with randomized placement, the 560 arches are a manifestation of the themes of openness and diversity central to the project’s objectives. Some of them are double-height, framing...

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