CALIBREUR DE LA JOLIETTE | Marseille, France | Unit 21 | 2016

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My project, Calibreur de La Joliette, aims to ‘calibrate’ the proportion of spaces of various functions in the La Joliette neighbourhood in Marseille, France.
Calibration is ‘the process of finding a relationship between two quantities that are unknown‘. My proposal aims to test out possibilities of city calibration at a local scale, as well as setting up a negotiable boundary between spaces occupied by local and non-local visitors. By defining the Unité d’habitation as an “ideal” modular piece of city, I aim to calibrate the chosen neighbourhood by comparing the proportion of spaces with different functions at my building site and that in Unité d’habitation.
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La Joliette is a neighbourhood of the 2nd arrondissement of Marseille located at the start of the autonomous port of Marseille. The Place de la Joliette is a public piazza located in this neighbourhood to which both tourists and local residents are attracted for different reasons.
I have identified 337 flats around my site (same amount of flats as in Unité d’habitation), and would like to provide these local residents with what the local area fails to provide them according to the pattern set up by the Unité d’habitation. I will need to add a supermarket, a cinema, a nursery a library and a gym to this site because they are present in Unité d’habitation but missing from this area.
By playing with interlocking positive and negative spaces and elaborate the idea of ‘streets in the sky’, my design language echoes that of the Unité d’habitation.
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The Unité d’habitation is a building designed for private residents where they can and go to local gym or supermarket without leaving the building, i.e. residential area and community facilities are closely packed together. However, in my building these facilities are right next to the residential block, not detached from them yet not attached to them either. Non-locals could visit this building but they will never reach certain community facilities provided only for local people only. This design reflects a juxtaposition between local and non-local.
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Structurally, the building consists of steel trusses supported by laminated glass columns which stand on pile foundations. Column heads of glass columns function as structural support as well as back of house service space. Different types of facade and roof with different light transmittance rates are installed according to lighting and insulation requirements.
As a project commissioned by the Euroméditerranée and L’etablisement Public, Calibreur de La Joliette should not only benefit the local community but also bring a new life to this area and attract more tourists, so that this piazza, together with Les Terrasses du Port Shopping Centre, will become Marseille’s new cultural centre.
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