Luminous, curvilinear facades, ribbons of generous balconies separated
by wood panels... At the foot of the Montagne de lAigle, Architect Jean-
Baptiste Pietris studio has created a programme of 145
apartments, a stones throw from the coves of the Massif des Calanques
that gave the project its name: La Crique.
Located in Marseilles 9th arrondissement, where Chemin du Roy
dEspagne crosses Boulevard Louis Pierotti, the projects buildings form
two distinct units, surrounded by dense vegetation. Each sits
effortlessly on the land, totally in keeping with existing elevations. The
first volume to the east is set slightly lower, allowing it to follow the
natural lie of the land and minimising its visual impact. The sculpted
volumes snake over the site and interlock to create a sizable green
space, the real planted centrepiece of the plot.
The end walls with their staggered terraces create tiers, echoing the
mountainous topography nearby. To the north, along the Chemin du Roy
dEspagne, the buildings line has been interrupted, creating thereby an
"inlet", reminiscent of the calanques and revealing a landscaped garden
of Mediterranean garrigue. Access to the hallways of the two buildings is
set in the centre of the plot, slightly below the private road, allowing
residents daily enjoyment of the greenery.
Also in line with the hills, the north-facing terraces which guarantee
superb luminosity all year round are adorned with plant pots containing
trees, and gain gradually in depth from the ground up to the roof. The
project thus mirrors the fundamental characteristics of the site it is set
Built in a difficult geographical environment, in the context of a
straightforward help-to-buy scheme, with simple materials, La Crique
encapsulates all the know-how of the architect, who, with great
generosity, designed two seemingly ordinary buildings, yet managed to
incorporate an extra share of heart and soul. The exterior spaces
allocated to each apartment are more than generous, the specific
characteristics of the surrounding landscape are deftly reflected in the
design, light has been given its rightful place: everything about the
project bears witness to a new way of thinking Marseilles identity.