Built for defense, the Saint-Jean fort today offers a unique panorama of Marseille and its surroundings from its promontory. It looks forward to a future in which its abandoned military installations will become a place for walking and contemplating the Phocean city.
The project is organised in two parts: historical and topographical. On one side, the fort promontory is very exposed to the coastal elements and the Mistral; on the other side is an enclosed and sheltered place, in contact with the city. The project rests on three principles that offer three distinct experiences:
– The fort ecosystem, which takes into account the existing ecosystems and develops ecological dynamics from them,
– The horizon attractor, which uses a series of increments or adjustments to frame or capture the horizon, setting the scene for walks along the upper part of the fort,
– The garden-gallery of Mediterranean plants, which allows people to climb from the lower to the upper part of the fort via a path that narrates the history of plants in the Mediterranean civilization.
This facility is a real botanical gallery where edible, medicinal and aromatic plants, as well as those mentioned in religious texts, grow on vertical structures accompanying staircases and lifts. A man-made addition to the structure of the old fort, it forms an attraction in itself.
- Program / Project: MARSEILLE / Saint-Jean Fortress
- Client: Ministry of Culture and Communication
- Project management: Agence Ter (lead consultant) + Concepto + SETEF + Atelier d’Ecologie Urbaine
- Area: 1.4 ha
- Date: 2010 competition
- Amount: 5.7 M€
- Location: Marseille, France