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Testimonial 1 : Marseilles: two towers for a new district

The new Euroméditerranée district is the symbol of the urban metamorphosis of Marseilles. Among the construction programs under way, Lafarge is contributing to two skyscrapers designed by leading architects, aiming at bringing inhabitants closer to the former docks district, now abandoned.

The urban metamorphosis of Marseilles is progressing during a capital year: in 2013, Marseilles is the European Capital of Culture. Combining offices, cultural facilities and housing, the new Euroméditerranée district is a showcase for the regeneration of Marseilles, which is the second largest city in France with 1.5 million inhabitants.

CMA-CGM: a link between the city and the sea
The architect Zaha Hadid designed the new headquarters of the maritime transport company, CMA-CGM. The 145-meter tower actually consists of two separate buildings joined together by a double-glazed curtain wall. We were able to deliver the self-placing concrete needed to construct the tower's 1,200 pillars thanks to a mobile ready-mix plant we installed on the construction site.

"We have worked hard to create a project whose ‘vertical' dynamic reflects the ‘horizontal' energy given off by the street and the city [...]," explains Hadid. "The situation of the tower, close to the port and to one of the major motorways that serve the city, gave us a unique opportunity to create a landmark which will form a link between the city and the sea."

H99: the first residential skyscraper built in France since the 1970s
We are also taking part in constructing H99, a skyscraper designed by Jean-Baptiste Pietri. As its name suggests, it will be 99 meters in height, and it will be the first high-rise residential building constructed in France since the 1970s. Consisting of three modules set one upon the other (City View, Sea View and Sky View), its 26 stories will be taken up with 149 apartments and services.

Lafarge supplied 50,000 m³ of concrete to help meet this architectural challenge, chiefly consisting in:

  • extremely solid foundations,
  • a cantilevered structure subject to winds that can occasionally be violent.

"The strategy that consisted in extending our cities on a one-story or two-story basis has been a disaster," argues Pietri. "The best solution is density, and one of the models for that is the skyscraper. The towers that we are in the process of constructing will become the facade of the city. People will look on Marseilles from the exterior, as they do with New York."

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