Concert Stadium. Vitrolles (France). Rudy Ricciotti. 2000

Rudy Ricciotti,

Marseille, France,

Free Time, Auditorium,


Vitrolles is a small town on the outskirts of Marseilles with a multimedia centre built explicitly to revitalise a degraded area that had been abandoned and become unsafe.

Concert Stadium. Vitrolles (France). Rudy Ricciotti. 2000 The building, designed by engineer/architect Rudy Ricciotti, is a big grey parallelepiped standing out alone in the rocky landscape around it. Its design is geometric, square and linear, mirroring Ricciotti's typical hard, minimalist style. But it is precisely this simplicity that makes his architecture so powerful. He never gives in to the temptation to decorate, except through the attentive use of light.
The structure is like a huge box, supported by 96 piers each 20 metres long emerging directly out of the rock. Walls 25 metres high and 30 cm deep define its perimeter.
The strong winds in the area required construction of reinforcements at the top of the piers, with 4 metre reinforced concrete slabs attaching the piers to the cement ceiling. The dark slate grey colour of the building¿s exterior was obtained by adding 25 kg of dye to every cubic metre of cement.
The result is a "closed" building with no openings, tempting us to go in and discover its interior. This minimalist vocabulary includes use of light: tiny red dots in niches ensure that the Concert Stadium is visible from afar at night. Once again Rudy Ricciotti achieves drama through use of a simple vocabulary in his architecture with carefully chosen materials, forms and colours.
The building's grey facades, smooth but matt surface and pure design create a "nude" figure that intentionally rejects ostentation while managing to achieve inevitable visual impact.

Laura Della Badia

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