Vieux Port Pavilion / Foster + Partners

© Nigel Young / Foster + Partners

Saturday in , France, pedestrians and city officials joined Foster + Partners to celebrate the completion of the Vieux Port Pavilion at the mouth of Marseille’s World Heritage-listed harbor. Minimal, yet effective, this “discreet” intervention provides a new sheltered events space on the eastern edge of the port. With six slender pillars supporting its razor-thin profile, the polished 46 by 22 meter stainless steel canopy amplifies and reflects the surrounding movement of the harbor, creating a spectacle that encourages pedestrians to linger.

More on Foster’s Vieux Port after the break…

© Nigel Young / Foster + Partners

Reclaiming the quaysides as civic space and reconnecting the port with the city, the boat houses and technical installations that previously lined the quays have been moved to new platforms and clubhouses over the water in an effort to establish a safe, pedestrianised environment that extends to the water’s edge.

The landscape design, which was developed with Michel Desvigne, includes a new pale granite surface, similar in color and durability as the original limestone cobbles. The simple, roughly textured materials secure accessibility for all, along with the elimination of curbs and level changes.

© Nigel Young / Foster + Partners

Spencer de Grey, Head of Design, Foster + Partners: “Our aim has been to make the Vieux Port accessible to all – the project is an invitation to the people of Marseille to enjoy and use this grand space for events, markets and celebrations once again. The new pavilion is quite literally a reflection of its surroundings – its lightweight steel structure is a minimal intervention and appears as a simple silver line on the horizon, but it brings a new focus, provides basic shelter and creates a venue for performances during this very important year for the city.”

Cite: Rosenfield, Karissa. "Vieux Port Pavilion / Foster + Partners" 05 Mar 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 26 May 2015. <>
  • Jake Groth

    Simple and beautiful. Fosters is always good.

  • wasn’t it already?

    Serpentine Gallery Pavilion ’09 + Ferry Terminal, both by SANAA. I think that pure and pioneering ideas as much as important and fresh are for any consideration, shouldn’t be repeated. They might be reinterpretated or conclusions from them might be used as an ispiration for further exploration. But not repeated as it happens here.

  • trinh lang tong


  • BS

    Could we see a section or some kind of detailing? Not one image presented here offers more information than the others. It seems to me the most interesting part of this project is simply the tectonics in creating such a seamless plane with seemingly no depth.

  • Sylvie

    As little impact as possible on a site which already had a lot of character. Will see how activities fit it over summer.

  • D

    Wheres the originality? This should read Vieux Port Pavilion/SANAA*

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  • Sanaa

    copied SANAA – I cant believe SANAA dont sue!

  • No please

    Copied the basic shelter from ogigins of architecture. how could they. Sanaa didn’t create the shelter nor the reflection and in my opinion this pavilion is a lot better integrated answer than the sanaa one.

  • Tariq

    Sanaa in a rectangle

  • Shahrzad Shah Tahmasebi

    very nice!