France’s second largest city is filled with stunning architecture. Magnificent churches and cathedrals, a water palace and Le Corbusier’s brutalist “city within a city” all vie for visitors’ attention. Culture Trip details the most striking buildings the seaside city has to offer.
Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, a disciple of Le Corbusier, is the mastermind behind Marseille’s Centre for Regional Art, FRAC, which is located on the waterfront. The unusual building has a triangular shape, and an enamel glass-covered façade where all panels are mounted at a slightly different angle. It gives the cultural building a curiously animated look, as if it’s in constant motion, and was a reference to how Le Corbusier tried to solve the problem of light by deflecting sunlight. Make sure to check out the stunning gallery space when you’re in Marseille.
The Villa Méditerranée is another seafront marvel, alongside the MuCEM. Boeri Studio’s cantilevered creation was designed to mark Marseille’s nomination as European Capital of Culture in 2013. It’s a trompe-l’oeil – from the water it seems to be standing on the mainland, but seen from the mainland, it appears to rise up from an island. In reality, it rises from a square of water in the quay, symbolising the bond with the sea. The beautiful concrete and steel building hosts an archive and research centre for projects related to the Mediterranean.
Additional reporting by Cajsa Carlson