Architectural innovation on a limited canvas
The Fond Regional D’art Contemporain, known as FRAC, is emblematic of Marseille's successful bid to become the European City of Culture in 2013. Designed as an arts centre and archive for the Provence Alpes Cotes d'Azur (PACA) region, its striking chequered façade draws onlookers inside and inhabitants outside, creating a place of movement and life.
In addition to being subject to a stringent build schedule, there were several key design challenges to overcome. The geometry of the tight site and strict urban-planning restrictions imposed an unusual triangular footprint, causing a very steeply-sloped roof. The architects decided early on in the project that this should be considered as a continuation of the façade, rather than a separate roof surface, that rose up and over the upper terrace. To realise this ambitious architectural feature, BMI were asked to develop an innovative, reliable supportive façade/roof system.