Clément Blanchet Architecture has been awarded second prize of an invited competition for the Ecole Centrale Creativity Center in Marseille. An ambitious program, the new creativity center must be a real meeting point for students, professors and professionals.
At a time when the limits between the real and the digital world become increasingly blurred and where the exchanges are in consequence more complex, the creation of a real place where the human is revealed seems crucial.
The project focuses primarily on the building of Ecole Centrale Marseille, with its robust architecture and its history of perpetual renewal. The Ecole Centrale Marseille is part of a campus where the size of the 70s infrastructure is flagrant, but in the same time where the human is no longer at the heart of the device.
The MC2 aims to be the simple insertion of a place that allows some domesticity. It is the metaphor of the perfect form which is the sphere: a place that at the same time gathers and diffuses.
Instead of compartmentalizing each universe of the building, we sought to create a common social space, encouraging informal meetings and a certain serendipity. A «right» place made up of spaces and connections allowing the users to weave their own habits and rituals: the time of appropriation and the latitude of uses.
Rather than limiting and dividing the rehabilitation of the building layer by layer, the sphere allows the manipulation of the floor plans, in order to reconnect them, thus forming a multitude of three-dimensional trajectories, a loop of the knowledge that aspires the programming and the diffuses throughout the school.
At its center, the sphere is a convivial space, outside it gives the image of a radiant architecture, a focus on stability and identity. Acting as an «airlock» between several universes, it offers maximum adaptability to changes in research and teaching. It is a tool capable of spreading knowledge, lighting up and opening up to its environment.
The MC2 becomes the perfect reflection for the identity of the Ecole Centrale Marseille: a virtual world at the service of the real world. Clément Blanchet, as director of OMA France has developped the Engineering school of Centrale Paris, competition won in 2012, completed in 2018. Source and images Courtesy of Clément Blanchet Architecture.
Article by Marco Rinaldi