The CMA CGM Tower by Zaha Hadid Architects stands at the heart of Marseille’s ambitious Euroméditerranée regeneration project, a kilometre north of the historic city centre, next to the port, which includes projects by Jean Nouvel and Massimiliano Fuksas. Located 100 metres
from the harbour edge and surrounded by raised express-ways, the scheme comprises two elements: a 56,600 square metre tower and a 36,600 square metre annex building. The programme includes offices, an 800-seat restaurant, an auditorium, and covered parking for 900 vehicles.
Responding to an awkward, elongated site, the mass of the facade is divided into vertical segments, differentiated using light and dark glazing. These are offset from one another with clear glazing set forward as a separate skin and articulated by peripheral structural columns. The external skin acts as a solar screen, enabling the use of light and non-reflective glass, and freeing the facades from the constraints of the modularised office interiors.
Inspired by the surrounding context, movement and fluidity vectors – expressed by the peripheral columns and the arrangement of the external facade panels – start on the ground floor and gradually converge before splaying apart towards the top of the structure.
Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects; associated architect: SRA, RTA; structure, services engineer: Arup; facade engineer: Arup, Robert-Jan Van Santen; acoustician: Albarique Rouche; qs: R2M; photos: Christian Richters, Luke Hayes (below right).
First published in AT228, May 2012