In Marseille, history and geography are closely interrelated. Public utility networks were built according to the topography. Grades and terrain relief were used in a smart way in order to built the ordinary and the extraordinary. The coastline has been partly preserved in its original shape or managed in order to enable its port functions. The Euromed II Site is the archetype of a composition consisting in topography, active coastline, extensive networks and buildings inserted in these great territorial routes.
The fact that utility networks are everywhere on the site may be perceived as the inconvenience of a crossed and lacerated district, reduced to the status of service area for the benefit of more upscale neighborhoods. But in a time when the city is being exposed to so many investigations under various parameters, the picture is dramatically changing in terms of perception. The railroad lands are now the guardians of the urban logistics efficiency, freed from the ubiquitous road transport, offering new possibilities of transportation services for the large urban center residents.
The recognition of the «natural fact», still obvious in the current urban structure of the city, led to a central proposal for the project: a 34.5 acres flood-prone park, located at the heart of the future neighborhood, in place of the Canet sorting tracks. The ambition is to create the 21st century park, proceeding from a complex combination, associating the benefits of modernity (make the area accessible to users, just like the Parc de la Villette in Paris, or the Prado beaches in Marseille : the ground or grass became usable and the gardens enjoyable) with the emergence of an ecological awareness, prompting us to bring nature back into the heart of the city. The principle of eco-restoration is driven by the geography of the premises, initially a small humid valley. The park is a natural receptacle for rain water coming from the North of Marseille, and this random game of waters makes as much for the creation of varied humid ecosystems as for the constantly renewed spectacle of their appearance.
Regardless of the future of the infrastructures, in particular Highway A55, the Corniche Boulevard could be the place of a new and pivotal link, in the extension of the Paris Street, overlooking the railroad and the port, in connection with the Coastal Boulevard beyond the Pinede Cape. This obvious recovered continuity climaxes on the upper square : a great public space located at the junction of the Pinede Cape, the silos footprint, and the main block of the Event Hall, offering a breathtaking view on the sea. The cluster of facilities around this space make the Corniche Boulevard the heart of this exceptional and demonstrative part of the city.
Julia Coutou + Marie Taveau (projet director), Belhouari Mohamed (projet manager), Coline Félix, Giuditta Gabriotti , Hélène Soubeyrand. former collaborators: Vincent Josso, Florence Mottes