Friday, January 18, 2019


The new building seen from Fort Saint-Jean

MuCEM from the Jardin du Pharo

The roof

Fort Saint-Jean from the new MuCEM building

There are walkways like this on every level.

MuCEM in March, 2017

MuCEM (Musée des Civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée) is a museum in Marseille, France. It is the first museum in the world devoted to Mediterranean cultures. An architectural contest began in October 2002, organized by the Ministry of Culture and of Communication, with 6 teams of architects competing. Rudy Ricciotti was selected in February 2004. MuCEM was inaugurated in 2013, the year Marseille was the European Capital of Culture. About half of the new building is covered by a lacy construction of fiber-concrete meant to resemble fishnet, the most visually interesting part of the design. This covering is called the mantilla, a lace headscarf worn in Spain.  There are walkways on every level between the mantilla & the glass walls.  The building is set on a pier just outside the Vieux (Old) Port & connected by a footbridge to the remodeled Fort Saint-Jean, also part of the museum. Rudy Ricciotti was born in 1952 in Algeria. He studied architecture at the National School of Architecture in Marseille & then engineering at the School of Engineering of Geneva. In 2006, he received the Grand Prix national de l'architecture, a French prize awarded by a jury of twenty persons (under the Ministry of Culture) for recognition of outstanding contribution to architecture.

Friday, January 4, 2019

MuCEM: Le jardin des migrations

These photos were taken on March 12, 2017

Click here for more photos of Le jardin des migrations.
Click here for video of Le jardin des migrations.

This garden at MuCEM is a cultural selection of Mediterranean plants seen & used for millennia by people across the Mediterranean, in a variety of ways.  The plants in this garden have often migrated with those people.  It's a xeric (dry) garden representative of the of Mediterranean climate & necessary in this exposed & windy position on the roofs of the museum.  The garden spreads widely over the the ramparts of the 17th-century Fort Saint-Jean with panoramic views of Marseille, where human migrants arrived long before the earliest recorded settlement by Phoceaen Greeks 2,600 years ago.  15 botanical landscapes include the Garden of Wind, aromatics, Wild Salads of the Fort, a formal myrtle garden, potager, medicinal garden, olive grove & a garden of stone slabs.  They were planted by Olivier Filippi, a nurseryman & Véronique Mure, a botanist.  I was more fascinated with the gardens & the architecture of the fort, than the striking new museum building & the very interesting displays there.