Cité de la Méditerranée – Boulevard du Littoral


For some 15 years, Ilex has been working on urbanism and the design of public spaces for the Cité de la Méditerranée, the first phase of the Euroméditerranée project.
As the principal axis of the urban schema, Boulevard du Littoral, completed in 2015, connects the city to the port, which is thus symbolically reintegrated into the collective consciousness of Marseille.

Activating a new locus vivendi
For more than 50 years, in the course of its industrialisation, the port was closed in on itself. Our aim, with its total makeover, was to reconstitute a real centrality that would attract infrastructure and people. The idea was to ventilate, diversify and redynamise the area, with cultural and commercial projects, office space, housing and public transport.
How was this seafront to be transformed, and its identity as a port expressed, with links to the city that would give it a new lease of life?

First of all…
With the A55 viaduct being partly moved underground, and the widening of the boulevard, the face of the district was altered. And this has been further reinforced by the provision of new metro and tram lines.
So how was the spirit of the area to be expressed?

Three lines of development
• To begin with, a reduction in traffic along the boulevard through a new hierarchy of connections and utilisations, and an improved image of public space.
• Then, a renewal of direct contact with the sea through the construction of a basin along the J4 esplanade, placing the MuCEM in a dialogue with Fort St-Jean, and lyrically linking up the boulevard with the seafront.
• Finally, the planting of Mediterranean vegetation to cool the air in the public spaces, and a conversion of the boulevard into a promenade.
These changes orientated a major infrastructure programme that included the MuCEM, the Villa Méditerranée, the Regards de Provence museum, the Terrasses du Port and Le Silo.
With its spacious architectural layout, the Boulevard du Littoral is an active interface between the city and the sea, between the history of the port and the actuality of the metropolis.

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Cité de la Méditerranée, Boulevard du Littoral, Marseille
Client: Euroméditerranée
Design: Ilex paysage urbanisme, Ateliers Lion (team leader), Ingérop, Kern & Associés Architecture Urbanisme
Mission: joint design of an urban project
Area: urban renovation of 200 hectares + 21 hectares of public space on Boulevard du Littoral
Budget: €54.5 m (excl. tax)
MIPIM Award 2015