Archives et Bibliothèque de prêt du Département des Bouches du Rhône

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Marseille, a repository of memory between town and harbour Project details and general information Situated in the sector of the Euroméditerranée-project in Marseille (a project of national interest which aims to revive the harbour area), the building of the Departmental Archives and Library of the Bouches-du-Rhône occupies a strategic location at the meeting point of the Boulevard de Dunkerque, the main axis of the harbour, and the Boulevard de Paris, the historic north-south axis of the city. It represents the first public building to be built in this new harbour area of the city. Launched in 2000, the competition foresaw the erection of two autonomous buildings (with the archives on the one side and the library on the other) on two plots of land bisected by a road. The project suggested uniting the two projects on one piece of land. Thus a public garden for local residents was created on the second plot behind the landmark church Saint Martin d’Arenc. The planning decision to construct on one single plot (merging rather than separating the projects) allows the building to present itself in this larger area at the northern entrance to the city. Furthermore, the installation of two different “universes` (archives and library) in the same building offers the possibility of sharing some functions and optimising the circulation pathways. This allows the meeting rooms and the hall to gain in size and attractiveness. Storehouses of knowledge Archival storage became the main issue of the project (with 78 km of shelving for the collection), and can be said to be the central element of the composition – both physically and symbolically. Located to the west, this huge repository offers physical protection for offices against motorway noise, the mistral winds and also harsh afternoon sunshine. In a symbolic way this massive piece of red concrete, reminiscent of a row of shipping containers, protects the memory of mankind. The double walls of concrete used for construction provide a favourable insulating effect, extremely useful for the conservation of archives and to make energy savings. Mostly inaccessible to the public, the mass of the building is periodically sliced through to allow the introduction of exhibition rooms displaying the archive’s treasures. Large panels of red concrete set on pillars allow for flexible museum arrangements (cf. photo). A layer of opalescent glass completely wraps the building’s exterior. A more or less dense white print as well as etching on some windows offer various effects of irridescence. Depending on the time of day this “moucharabieh` of glass becomes matt or shiny, clear or cloudy, thus affording a view of the red container within as though in a Chinese shadow. The whole construction is placed on a base of lava stone which extends to the outside grounds. The stone is enlivened by an inscription of scattered letters, reminiscent of Mediterranean script. This base of stone is exactly reproduced at the same height around the Jardin de la Lecture. Lit from above, the reception area runs along the auditorium and the exhibition hall to lead down to the entrance of the reading room. Thus one discovers the generous spaces of the reading room that give access to the buried treasures of the archives, in an setting where an atmosphere of unobtrusive solemnity aids study. The coherence of the project was aided by the willingness of the contractor to make large efforts into research on furniture, signage conception and an artistic approach (lighting design). Project Title Departmental Archives and Library of the Bouches-du-Rhône in Marseille........ Project Details Departmental archives, Departmental Lending Library, Public Information Office for the Local Area, auditorium and exhibition rooms. Address : Situated in the 3rd arrondissement of Marseille, adjacent to 4 roads :Rue Mirés, Rue Peyssonnel, Rue Chanterac and Boulevard de Paris. Floor space : Total usable floor space of 28,000 m² - Building dimensions at base: 83 x 60 m – Covered exterior facilities : 60 x 60 m Highest eaves : 23 m – Highest roof coping : 28 m – Dimensions of the Jardin de la Lecture (Reading Garden): 90 x 56 m giving around 5,000 m² – 8 levels in total, of which 7 levels of shops. That is 56 shops of 200 m² – Floor space of shops approx. 10,500 m² – 78 km of archival shelving. Total costs : 37 million euros (tax exempt) building costs including outside facilities and Jardin de la lecture. 44.25 million euros (tax exempt) including signage design, furniture and statutory 1% investment in art Main construction materials Lava stone – glassfibre reinforced concrete (GRC), curtain wall facade


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  • Radil Radenkov
    Radil Radenkov added a digital reference and updated
    about 6 years ago via