When Marseille decided it was high time for a new opera house, they took stock of their existing infrastructure and made the choice to renovate a building instead of erecting a brand new one. The resulting Arenc Silo is an adaptive reuse of a large historical grain silo into an opera house was designed by C + T Architectes. The space opened in September of 2011 and began its new life as a member of the arts community, leaving behind traces of its past industrial existence.
The Arenc Silo was built in the mid 1920s and has held a prominent position near the port of Marseille. For many years, the silo sat vacant and abandoned, but when the neighborhood began undergoing renovations, the idea to convert it into something more useful sprung up. The reinforced concrete structure was upgraded, shored up and converted to house offices, a rooftop restaurant, new parking and a large performing arts hall with over 2000 seats.
The Silo, as it is now called, sits on the border of the harbor and the city and is a major part of the port area’s revitalization. Since 2004, the structure has been listed as a “Heritage of the 20th Century” site. The industrial structure still retains much of its original character and the large theatre space was carved out of a hollow area in the center.
Images © Lisa Ricciotti, Melanie Hesnard and Marseille Silo