The beautiful double-skinned J4 MuCEM on the Mediterranean in Marseille has opened its doors to visitors. Designed by Rudy Ricciotti Architectes, the gorgeous J4 building is encased with a patterned second skin, which filters natural light into the exhibition spaces inside. Aside from making a striking visual statement on the shores of the clear blue Mediterranean, the latticework also gives a breath of the sea’s salty air into the inside of the space.
The partially transparent façade of the J4 museum creates a gauzy mirage along the Mediterranean from afar. The massive new building spans over 160,000 square feet, housing temporary and permanent exhibitions about the culture and history of the Mediterranean region. J4 acts as a welcome center for visitors to MuCEM, leading them through the cavernous space from exhibition to exhibition. The new building transforms the former port pier, and it links the MuCEM with the historic buildings that sit on the site.
Inside the J4, Ricciotti designed two levels of exhibition space highlighting historic stories from the spice route, mythology and routes to Jerusalem. In additon to the exhibition space is a 325-seat auditorium, children’s area, bookstore, offices, café and restaurant with outdoor terraces that over look the sea. Outdoor observation areas are also encased within the double skin façade, providing shaded areas for contemplating the breathtaking beauty of the region.
Linked to the double-skinned J4 is the historic Fort Saint-Jean, which is reached by a suspended footbridge that reaches above the J4 and across the crystal Mediterranean Sea below. Ricciotti’s suspended footbridge leads to the stone fort, which was built by Louis XIV back in 1660, joining the new building with the history of the land.