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Foster + Partners beats RSHP to win Marseille Airport extension contest

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Foster + Partners is understood to have seen off Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) to win the contest to design a new extension to Marseille Airport

According to the top-ranked AJ100 practice, the concept design will add the ‘missing piece’ to a 1992 addition by the Richard Rogers Partnership while ’restoring the clarity of layout and expression’ in Fernand Pouillon’s original Rational-Modernist 1960s building.

The first phase of wider proposals to future-proof the airport until 2046, the stainless steel clad scheme features a 22m-high glazed hall with an inverted beam roof and an ‘heroic’ span of glass skylights. 

The  new ‘heart’ aims to rationalise the arrival and departure sequences within a single building and create ‘an intuitive progression’ through the terminal for passengers.

The AJ has learned that the only finalists in the contest were RSHP and Foster + Partners.

Grant Brooker, head of Studio, Foster + Partners said: ’Marseille Airport has grown extensively and incrementally over the past 60 years. Our goal is to design a generous pavilion that reconnects all parts of the existing buildings, simplifying the flow of people between them and creating a new, welcoming gateway to the region.

‘The new terminal features a panoramic terrace overlooking the airport and the landscape beyond, and is entirely top-lit, capturing the bright Provençal sunlight and paying homage to the bold architectural spirit of Fernand Pouillon’s original building.’

In 2013 Foster + Partners completed the mirrored Vieux Port pavilion on the Quai de la Fraternité at the eastern edge of Marseille’s port – part of Michel Desvigne’s and the practice’ masterplan for the regeneration of the city’s World Heritage-listed harbour.

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2597 fp634763

Architect’s view

The movement of passengers from landside to airside and vice versa follows a simple linear diagram. All departing passengers pass through security screening on the first floor, overlooking the arrivals level below. Passing through a giant multimedia screen that spans across the building, they are immediately transported into a large double-height space animated by shops and restaurants, with tranquil seating areas surrounded by green trees. From here, there is a clear view of the aircraft and landing bays, with the lounges and panoramic terrace on upper levels. The Coeur [’heart’] floats above the existing 1990s building, creating a common architectural expression for the airport.

The interfaces between the old and new buildings are clearly articulated, using a distinctive portal frame throughout the building. The interior spaces flow seamlessly from one building to the other, with a flexible layout that can be adapted for the existing buildings. Phase II will add an additional pier with 12 aerobridges. To reduce the impact on day-to-day airport operations, the modular structure will be predominantly prefabricated offsite, and erected on a fast-track schedule. 



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Readers' comments (1)

  • When I last went to Marseille I could see no sign of the bold architectural spirit.

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