One museum, three sites
The MuCEM covers 45,000 m2 spread across three complementary sites. The J4 and the Fort Saint Jean, located by the sea, are used for large exhibitions and cultural activities. The Centre de Conservation et de Ressources (CCR), in the city centre, is home to the museum’s collections.
‘A symbol of the new face of Marseille’
16,500 m2, including 3,690 m2 of exhibition space
Since it opened in June 2013, the building designed by Rudy Ricciotti (in association with Roland Carta) has become a symbol of the new face of Marseille. This concrete cube – forming a perfect square measuring 72 metres on each side – is clad in a lacy screen made out of concrete, giving it a strong visual identity that helps to elevate the MuCEM to the rank of an internationally recognisable ‘world-object’.
Surrounded by harbour basins, positioned facing the sea, the J4 offers 360° views taking in the Fort Saint Jean and the Mediterranean, which are visible from the glazed exhibition spaces, the roof terrace and the outdoor ramps that encircle the building. It is linked to the Fort Saint Jean by a high footbridge 135 metres long. The J4 is the veritable ‘heart’ of the MuCEM, hosting large permanent and temporary exhibitions, as well as regular and one-off events from the artistic and cultural programme.
Fort Saint Jean
‘A fully restored historic monument, open to all’
15,000 m2, including 1,100 m2 of exhibition space and 12,000 m2 of gardens
Although the Fort Saint Jean’s origins date back to the 12th century, this former military fort, totally off-limits to the public, resembled an impregnable fortress. Its opening in 2013 was thus a historic first: the fully restored fort has since been open free of charge to the people of Marseille, who were quick to adopt the site as a new public space. Although some of the buildings are used for exhibitions, the Fort Saint Jean is above all a vibrant new centre centre in the heart of Marseille, offering a large range of activities, including a historical trail, a botanical stroll through the Jardin des Migrations and a chance to discover spectacular, previously inaccessible views.
‘The CCR’s twofold responsibility is to conserve and make accessible the collections’
13,000 m2, including 7,000 m2 of storerooms
This large ochre-coloured monolith designed by architect Corinne Vezzoni (in association with André Jolivet) houses the treasure that is the MuCEM’s collections, consisting of more than one million objects. It is here that the collections are conserved, studied and restored, but also, more unusually, where they are made accessible to others. This twofold responsibility forms the basis of the CCR’s activities. Museum professionals, researchers, students, art lovers and those who are simply curious can thus access the entire collections, which can be viewed on-site. A storeroom specially designed to receive visitors and an exhibition room give members of the general public a chance to go ‘backstage’ at the MuCEM.