La Grande Joliette


Marseille is moving forward apace, and the public planning authority Euroméditerranée is guiding the process. The study carried out on La Grande Joliette is central to a process that began in the 1990s with regard to the relationship between the city and the port. It examines the equilibrium of an industrial economy, public spaces and landscapes. What approach can be taken to this area, which has been shaped by the evolving activities associated with the port? What kind of interface is possible, between sea and city? Ilex is working with KCAP on an urban study and consultations related to the Cité de la Méditerranée project.

Economic dynamism

If employment is to be conserved, the local economy reinvigorated, the city’s influence reinforced and its attractiveness increased, Marseille must once more become a port like Barcelona, Antwerp, Rotterdam or Hamburg. What is envisaged is a multifunctional port-city interface that takes into account both the economic development of the area, namely three to four hectares in the city centre, and the port facility itself.

The port

The transformation of the Joliette area is just one aspect of this economic and strategic repositioning. But its basins represent its leading facade, the pavilion in its centre.
Our task was to establish the rules that would govern this transformation, but also to prolong the dialogue that was set up with the city authorities when the J4 esplanade was handed over and the MuCEM built, and to propose spatial and programmatic orientations which, in the framework of an overall urban project, would reinforce the economic and maritime character of the area.

The city

How can the port relate to its new environment, including the Boulevard du Littoral, the cultural structures, the shops and leisure facilities? The port-city is an emerging entity whose private-sector activities are dynamised by public space in an osmosis that is meant to bring back the horizon, and contact with the sea. There will also be a synergy with the different modes of mobility, cultural policies and public events, giving the port the place it merits in the metropolis of tomorrow.

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2014 (studies in progress)
Clients: Euroméditerranée, Grand Port Maritime de Marseille
Design: Ilex paysage urbanisme, KCAP Architects & Planners (team leader), Citec, Arcadis
Mission: the preparation of an urban study
Area: 100 hectares