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Foster + Partners completes Vieux Port pavilion in France

6 March 2013

Vieux Port pavilion

UK-based architectural firm Foster + Partners has completed Vieux Port pavilion in Marseille, France.

The sheltered events space, which forms part of Michel Desvigne and Foster + Partners' masterplan for the regeneration of Marseille's World Heritage-listed harbour, is situated on the Quai de la Fraternité at the eastern edge of the port.

Built to commemorate the city's year as European Capital of Culture, the 46m-long events pavilion is a discreet canopy, which is open on all sides and supported by slender pillars.

Foster + Partners said that the pavilion's mirrored surface reflects the surrounding port and tapers towards the edges, minimising its profile and reducing the structure's visual impact.

Plans included reclaiming the quaysides as civic space, relinking the port with the city, relocation of platforms and clubhouses over the water.

The pedestrian area around the harbour has been expanded to reduce the traffic over the coming years to create a semi-pedestrianised public realm.

The landscape design includes a new pale granite surface, in the same shade as the original limestone cobbles.

Foster + Partners head of design Spencer de Grey said that the company aimed to make the Vieux Port accessible to all.

"The new pavilion is quite literally a reflection of its surroundings - its lightweight steel structure is a minimal intervention and appears as a simple silver line on the horizon, but it brings a new focus, provides basic shelter and creates a venue for performances during this very important year for the city," de Grey said.

Work on the Vieux Port regeneration project started in March 2012 and the regeneration of the heritage port is one of the projects being carried out before Marseille's inauguration as the European Capital of Culture in 2013.


Image: The 46m-long mirrored canopy is open on all sides and supported by slender pillars. Photo: Foster + Partners.