MuCEM by rudy riccioti sports a delicate concrete filigree
MuCEM by rudy riccioti sports a delicate concrete filigree MuCEM by rudy riccioti sports a delicate concrete filigree
jun 05, 2013

MuCEM by rudy riccioti sports a delicate concrete filigree

MuCEM by rudy riccioti sports a delicate concrete filigree
image © lafarge library  / charles plumey faye
all images courtesy of lafarge 



the museum of european and mediterranean civilization (MuCEM) just opened its glazed doors in the port-side city of marseille. the museum, first in the world dedicated to mediterranean cultures, is remarkable in its pioneering exterior skin of delicate filigreed concrete- a architectonic feat of prestressed concrete and building system. designed by arguably the ambassador of concrete, french architect rudy ruccioti envisioned the sea-bordered site in dialogue with the light-admitting, wind-cutting concrete lace over the expansive volume of the cultural institution.the seven-level, 40, 000 square meter structure is additionally bound to the idyllic fort saint-jean with a 115m long slender pathway and an 820 meter suspended walkway that cut through the structure and is itself a successful exercise in material experimentation, sporting an elegant and effective slenderness. the material palette includes expansive glazing and a aesthetically precise and structurally pioneering use of ductal, a engineered, fibrous concrete used to render the material a lightweight, formally complex panel. two facades and the roof are clad in 384 the high performing planes that additionally serve to dematerialize light and allow air to pervade the space. circulation marries material as the vivid blues of both sea and sky blend, breathe and move behind the meandering curves of lace that screen that world of culture and artifact with the environment that produces them.




the volume is inlaid with suspended paths of circulation that connect the museum to the historic port

image © lafarge library  / charles plumey faye



the striking turquoise and pristine blues of sky and ocean are met with a delicate mass of glazing and impossibly light concrete
image © lafarge library  / charles plumey faye



slate colored suspended path toward the roof
image © lafarge library  / charles plumey faye



spatially the museum is designed for strolling and observing 
image © lafarge library  / charles plumey faye



the concrete filigree skin creates an immaterial envelope of dappled light and reframes the ocean and air 
image © lafarge library  / charles plumey faye



detail view of the building system 
image © lafarge library  / charles plumey faye



interior hallways show the effect of the materials on the ambulation spaces 
image © lafarge library  / charles plumey faye



light moves across the ocean in a similar fashion
image © lafarge library  / charles plumey faye



the museum enjoys column free space due to a top-down construction method 
image © lafarge library  / charles plumey faye



the night view of marseille breathes a different life into the light volume 
image © lafarge library  / charles plumey faye

  • This is one of the most inspiring creations in years. The way light is transformed into superb shadows, and its so organic, fusing rock – raw stone – and concrete with light, like nothing before? Marvellous. Needs dolosse from South Africa!

    Iain campbell says:
  • it’s a classic.

    Allan says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

architecture news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
493,013 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample