PRADO TRANQUILLE | Marseille, France | Unit 21 | 2016
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Investigating questions of culture, identity, and temporality, this project is an insertion on the edge between Marseille and the Mediterranean. The intervention leverages Marseille’s diverse culture and urban history, referencing the Prado as a site belonging to Marseille physically and intellectually, as well as the Bole, a program also key to Marseille.
Prado Tranquille studies the ideas of visibility, perspective and boundary, falling under a key subject: the Threshold. Initiated from Beirut and pulling inspiration from Corbusier’s Cite Radieuse, the project acts as a park for all, embracing the sea and pulling essence from it.
Drawing on quantitative research conducted through communication, and qualitative research conducted during a trip to Marseille, this investigation dissects and unravels the intricacies of the city. Linguistics, territoriality, urban use and decay, materiality, and geospatial systems are all studied through the fabric of Marseille, instigating a unique relationship to Lebanese culture and revealing an unusual resemblance in the urban fabric and architectonic experience. Grammar and time are represented spatially, intensifying the perception of the city’s content through its material physicality.
In between the stories of residents, the worn urbanity, and the linguistic dialectic, an identity emerges, consisting of a complex set of systems that closely tie Marseille to Beirut, establishing a powerful relationship that this chapter struggles to document and represent through personal experiences, conversations, and observations, all of which are equally permanent and ephemeral.
Leveraging established understandings of the territoriality of Marseille and its sociourban organization, a study of the site, its context and programme assimilates the architectural manifestations and implications of the Prado within the larger framework of Marseille’s history, both architectural and demographic. Transcending the existing, illustrations document current spatial conditions while exploring possibilities, including reinterpretations of spatial experiences and a reimagination of the human being within the architectural realm, experientially and existentially.
Assimilating both Marseille’s cultural history and the systems of spatial organization, a set of datums define the site of intervention and connect it to the various qualities of the fabric of the city, extending the unique socio-cultural and urbanspatial metabolism the city has enjoyed.
A skatepark by a promenade. A platform by the sea. A ramp under a monolith. A city by the water. A journey without a path. The sea is embraced no less than the city is, and the experience of every visitor is radically different, aligning and deliberately misaligning with all that exists. The perception of the space is never the same twice, the architecture is systematically generated and intensely manipulated, creating a structure of leisurely activity that take Marseille to the sea before bringing the sea into Marseille.