Study for the Port Autonome


The development of this industrial site was essentially predicated on its geography. Spaces initially set aside for industrial activity are now central to a twofold problematic involving the need to deal simultaneously with an industrial base and a large amount of land that is either disused or awaiting redevelopment.

The « nature and landscape » dimension

By comparison with other European ports, the amount of land available in Fos-sur-Mer is considerable. Two thirds of it are semi-natural, semi-constructed, and there is an overall impression of a sterile no-man’s-land. This industrial heritage is nonetheless deep-rooted, and the hinterland offers splendid landscapes: the Camargue, the Costière de Crau, the Crau Sèche and the hills around Martigues.

We looked at this range of diversity, both natural and developed, so as to determine that which currently seems « empty », to give it a potential use, whether ecological or industrial, temporary or permanent, and to formulate an action plan.

We showed that the different protected spaces, disused land and port facilities formed an entity with significant potential.

The territorial dimension

Aside from the internal economic logic of the port area, and with the creation of an overall territorial schema, we put forward a number of alternatives:

  • economic synergies between the different activities associated with the port, based on clear, compact spatial units of logistics, high-risk initiatives and light industry;
  • a modernisation of the port, giving it new accessibility and clarity, while also redeploying the road and rail networks and using the river as an alternative artery of transport;
  • a new dialogue with urban projects and neighbouring communities that are seeking access to the sea, and possibilities for expansion.

Arbitrages between economics and landscapes will be crucial to the development of the port. They inevitably draw on the metropolitan dimension, and must be seen in a logic of partnership between neighbouring populations, economic activity and the environment.

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Study for the Port Autonome, Fos-sur-Mer
Client: Port Autonome de Marseille (GPMM)
Design: Ilex paysage urbanisme, Kern & Associés Architecture Urbanisme (team leader), Technip, TPC Ingénierie
Mission: overall ground plan, and a strategy for differentiated development
Area: 10,000 hectares