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An Open Door to the Mediterranean


PietriArchitectes agency presents Porte Bleue, a tourist residence and accommodation in Marseille, France. The 414 white concrete vaults that make up the façade of the tower give an arborescent design and open the view to the Mediterranean in subtle architectural poetry.

La Porte Bleue is part of a real-estate program of 4 distinct buildings (offices, housing, and shops) at the heart of the overall development operation of ZAC Euroméditerranée. The project represents a true place of connection between the port, the roads, and the city, and it embodies one of the gateways to Marseille.

The Quays of Arenc: A new dynamic for the city

By offering a 4-star tourist residence, now belonging to Odalys as a new emblem of the tourist accommodation group, La Porte Bleue is part of the dynamism of a new district. The tower also offers housing for home buyers and features a retail outlet on the first floor. An independent restaurant, projecting from the main volume, will in turn energize this interiority with its 3 glass façades and planted roof.

One project, two entities

Within a 53-meter-high building, two entities make up the program:

– The first is a 4-star tourist residence on the 11 lower levels, comprising 250 units with refined décor. It is also a space dedicated to well-being with the presence of an indoor swimming pool and other equipment dedicated to that purpose, while a restaurant and reception areas complete the whole.

– The second entity, built on the last 7 levels, consists of 68 housing units with a total floor area of 4,891m², all with beautiful surfaces and unobstructed views. A decision was made to provide all of the accommodations with large loggias, considered as additional open living rooms.

The tower comprises a wide range of housing: simplex housing ranging from T1 to T4 on levels R+12 to R+16, and duplex housing ranging from T3 to T4 are offered on the last 2 levels, R+17 and R+ 18.

The poetry of vaults: Balancing elegance and technique

The facades of the project are made up of a multitude of vaults leaning on one another. The vaults had to meet strict specifications with the choice of concrete with a lower environmental impact, shaped locally in the town of Aubagne, a town close to Marseille. This concrete adornment gives the tower a particular tree-like design that has become a landmark and true signature of the work. The rounded shapes of the vaults frame the landscape in a soft and singular way through a curve from each interior space. These concrete vaults contribute to the waterproofing of the exterior envelope, in concert with the aluminium joinery. With their 90 cm deep cap, they also play an important role in protecting residents from the wind and the sun, without depriving them of generous glazing. La Porte Bleue has 50% glass surface and opening windows for an exceptional quality of life.

Project: Construction of a 4-star tourist residence and housing units

Client: Constructa Promotion

Technical Engineering Agency: BET Yves Garnier

Structural Engineer: BET Masse

Area: 13 000m²

Cost: 21 M€

Design phase: 2016-2017

Completion: September 2023

Photo credit: Lisa Ricciotti