Porte Bleue: Marseille’s Architectural Oasis

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Project Highlights

Project: Construction of a 4-star tourist residence and housing units
Client: Constructa Promotion
Technical Engineering Agency: BET Yves Garnier
Structural Engineer: BET Masse

Area: 13 000m²
Cost: 21 M€
Design phase: 2016-2017
Completion: September 2023

PietriArchitectes presents La Porte Bleue, an architectural marvel nestled in Marseille, France. The structure, a part of the ZAC Euroméditerranée development initiative, stands tall as a tourist residence and accommodation. What makes this tower a stunning visual spectacle are its 414 white concrete vaults composing a façade that unveils an arborescent design, offering a poetic glimpse of the Mediterranean.

The Heart of a Vibrant District

La Porte Bleue is more than just a building; it’s a symbol of connectivity between Marseille’s port, roads, and urban life. As an integral part of the Quays of Arenc, this architectural gem is contributing to the dynamism of a burgeoning district. Hosting a 4-star tourist residence under Odalys, the tower also houses apartments and retail spaces, including a distinctive restaurant projecting from the main structure, featuring three glass façades and a planted roof.

The Duality of Purpose

Within its towering 53-meter frame, La Porte Bleue embodies two distinct entities:

  • The Tourist Residence: Spanning the lower 11 levels, this section offers 250 units with exquisite décor, including spaces dedicated to wellness such as an indoor pool. Alongside, a restaurant and reception areas create a holistic experience.
  • Residential Space: Encompassing the top 7 levels, this zone comprises 68 housing units with expansive areas and unobstructed vistas. Each accommodation boasts large loggias, extending the living space into open air.

Embracing Elegance and Technical Prowess

The façade’s charm lies in the intricate assembly of 414 vaults, meticulously crafted from low-carbon concrete sourced locally for minimal environmental impact. These vaults, framing the landscape with gentle curves from within, serve a multifaceted role. Not only do they enhance the aesthetics but also ensure waterproofing and protection from the elements while maximizing natural light intake, achieving a staggering 50% glass surface.

Engineering Sustainability and Beauty

The façade’s creation involved innovative engineering, integrating Y-shaped modules with cast beams and slabs, resulting in a sturdy yet visually stunning structure. The choice of white reinforced concrete ensures durability against sea-induced corrosion while maintaining aesthetic appeal. Moreover, the use of low-carbon concrete champions sustainable development without compromising performance or resilience.

Mediterranean Inspiration and Futuristic Ideals

The design of La Porte Bleue draws inspiration from Marseille’s rich heritage and Mediterranean architectural elements. The vaults pay homage to structures like the Major in Marseille and the Palace of Italian Civilization in Rome. Moreover, the tower stands as a modern interpretation of the Mediterranean, capturing the region’s light and essence through its luminous white façade.


La Porte Bleue isn’t merely a building; it’s an ode to Marseille’s history and a beacon of sustainable architectural innovation. As it stands, this masterpiece signifies the fusion of aesthetics, technology, and environmental consciousness, presenting a gateway to a world of imagination and artistic vision in the heart of Marseille.

Leave a Reply