MuCEM: when aesthetic and mechanical performances are brought together


The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (MuCEM) in Marseille (France) is now open. Designed by architect Rudy Ricciotti, a great ambassador of concrete, this avant-garde creation was the scene of several technical feats, made possible thanks to our ultra-high performance concrete Ductal®.


A place for culture and sharing all made out of concrete!

With the inauguration of the MuCEM by the French President François Hollande followed by the public opening on June 7, a 10-year architectural and technical epic comes to an end with a spectacular epilogue.

For this first museum worldwide dedicated to the Mediterranean cultures, laying on the waterfronts of Marseille, at the Old Port entrance, on the former port jetty J4, the architect Rudy Ricciotti designed an exceptional building open on the sea, and able to install a dialogue between the two shores of the Mediterranean sea and open a new horizon for Marseille inhabitants. « For the MuCEM, I wanted a place for a stroll and a place of culture, a popular museum offering a different trip through the Mediterranean Sea. »

A 15,000m² mineral cube where concrete is king and gives all its strength and lightness to the building. A creation where Rudy Ricciotti pushed concrete to its limits: « Nothing in this work is purely decorative. Everything is structural, just like a fish skeleton. We progress towards a dematerialization of the concrete structure which becomes delicate, long and thin, energetic like a coral rock. »

Lafarge Ductal® concrete at the heart of the architectural creation

Thanks to its delicacy, its flexibility and its high resistance, our ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) Ductal® made possible the architectural feat and technical challenge of the MuCEM.

A unique structure worldwide: Ductal® prestressed concrete columns are a world première. Another originality: the floors were manufactured first, then laid on scaffoldings and then bound with columns. The result: the visitors of the museum can enjoy large column-free spaces to admire the art pieces.

Elegant pathways: Ductal® also allowed achieving the two pathways which smoothly link the MuCEM to the city of Marseille. The pathway linking the MuCEM to the Fort Saint-Jean is one of the slenderest concrete pathways with its 115m length and 1.80m height.

Concrete lace: the MuCEM is encased in a mesh made out of Ductal®, which lets light, air and the smell of iodine in, while acting as a windbreak. Our ultra-high performance concrete allowed manufacturing the 384 panels covering with delicacy the two facades and the roof of the museum.

A walkway suspended between the inside space and the outside: Between the columns and the heart of the building, the corridors wind around the museum. 820 m dedicated to elegant and delicate strolls, thanks to Ductal®. Our concrete is also concealed in the brackets supporting the walkway from the roof of the building.

Upon the initiative of Rudy Ricciotti, pioneer and ambassador of concrete, and Bonna Sabla for the precast, the MuCEM reveals the architectonic and structural qualities of Ductal®, our ultra-high performance fibered concrete, in yet unexplored dimensions! « We do not know where this material will lead us. We can reinvent the world. »

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