Three Institutes in One: For the Young, by the Young

Three Institutes in One: For the Young, by the Young

Young Paris-based architecture firm NP2F won the competition for a new institute in Marseille, the Mediterranean Institute of Cities and Territories. Edouard Champalle, architects at NP2F, spoke to ArchiExpo e-Magazine during Paris design week.

Located in the south of France, three institutes merge to create the Mediterranean Institute of Cities and Territories: the National School of Architecture of Marseille (ENSAM), the Marseille brand of the National School of Landscape (ENSP) and the Institute of Urban Planning and Regional Development (IUAR) of Aix-Marseille University.

The new institute will unify the three to develop new relationships, exchanges and internal collaborations. Located near the Porte d’Aix Plaza and the Saint Charles train station, this new hub focuses on education and research and shares 9,500 sqm for its three main buildings: the Atelier, the Forum, and Experimentation and Research building.

A signal of confidence addressed to the younger generation of architects.

Young, Paris-based architecture firm NP2F, founded in 2009 and whose members all studied at the architecture school in Marseille-Luminy, won the design competition for the project in December 2017, in collaboration with Marion Bernard, Point Supreme Architects and Jacques Lucan Architectes.

Edouard Champalle, architects at NP2F, spoke to ArchiExpo e-Magazine at their office in Paris during the design week:

“One of the most innovative aspects of our plan for the institute is the atelier, where students can utilize the space and available tools to produce their models. The school is also hoping to include a robotic machine for the development of models.”

The jury selected the project for its teaching and exchange spaces that are bright and adaptable to pedagogical developments. This choice, according to the Ministry of Culture, sends a signal of confidence addressed to the younger generation of architects. Of course, it helps that the associates of NP2F all studied at one point at the University of Architecture in Luminy, where it was originally located.

“We kept the feel of Luminy by creating elements of its landscape throughout the institute. There’s a harmonious link between indoors and outdoors; you can always exit outside from wherever you are, from whichever building.”

The estimated delivery for the institute is September 2021.

From the architects:

In front of the Porte d’Aix are the Ateliers building with its cafeteria and the Forum building, hosting communal spaces, the administration and the library on the third floor. The main entrance is between both buildings. The façade of the whole institute reveals a welcoming entrance on a planted interior courtyard surrounded by walkways. The Ateliers building accompanies the ascent of the University. Inside the block, nature is brought directly at the heart of the Institute with a pine garden. The Experimentation and Research building finds itself on the Boulevard Charles Nédelec. From the street, its ground floor opens up on a greenhouse that showcases the various activities and experiments taking place in the building.

To respond to the necessity of providing simple chromatics, the light color of the buildings expel the heat. On the totality of the building, posts and slabs are built of grey concrete. The edge of each slab stands out of the posts; while the different solar protection devices, lintels, mullions, in white concrete, are set back. The three main courtyards are drawn, each disposing of a specific character. At the ground floor, le central courtyard is linked to the Jules Guesde square. In the continuity of the main entrance, it establishes the town’s extension in the heart of the Institute and functions as a big open room. It welcomes different programs surrounding it like an amphitheater. The courtyard for the research building, more urban, responds to the animation of the boulevard. Finally, the back courtyard, covered in pine trees, is a fragment of the garrigue in the center of the project. The Ateliers building follows the slope downwards towards the city and the Triumphal Arch, creating many terraces, each unique. All the rooftops of the buildings benefit from views of the sea, the town and mountains.

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