CMA CGM Headquarters
AN ARCHITECTURAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL CHALLENGE.
The CMA CGM tower is one of the highest towers for offices, in the city of Marseilles. Situated in the Euromediterranée area of the city, this tower – designed by Zaha Hadid – houses the head offices of the maritim transport company CMA CGM, 3rd world groupe of containers maritim transport.
Rising in a metallic curving arc that slowly lifts and accelerates skywards into the dramatic vertical geometry of its revolutionary forms. With its ultimate coordinate 142.8 metres above the ground, a gateway to the city from both land and sea, an iconic vertical element that interacts with Marseille’s other significant landmarks.
Connected by a curved glass bridge, the fluid shape of which is an elegant extension of the façade, the “annex” reproduces the main building’s measurements horizontally (135 m long). Contrary to what the name implies, this annex plays a vital role as it contains all the equipment required to ensure life runs smoothly in the Tower: information systems, generators, refrigeration units, boiler rooms and so on.
The project features:
- 147 m high, this tower is the highest in Marseilles and the second highest tower of the province, after the Part-Dieu in Lyons.
- It will shelter 2,400 employees of CMA CGM which were working on 7 separate sites before then.
- The embankment, foundations and structural works were given to GTM (Grands Travaux de Marseille – Big Works of Marseilles).
- By the tower, a secondary building will house the technical premises, an underground 5-storey high parking lot, a company restaurant and the IT rooms.
- Four years of works were necessary to complete the construction of this tower according to seismic parameters, the first in Marseilles.
- The architect multiplicated technical challenges, such as assembling 1,172 piles with different shapes in order to adapt the building to the mutliple shapes of the identity of CMA CGM. Nothing will transpire: just like a second skin on the outside façades, an elegant glass layer ensures the necessary opacity.
The new Headquarter tower for CMA CGM in Marseille, France rises in a metallic curving arc that slowly lifts from the ground and accelerates skywards into the dramatic vertical geometry of its revolutionary forms. The disparate volumes of the tower are generated from a number of gradual centripetal vectors that emerge from within the solid ground surface, gently converge towards each other, and then bend apart, towards its ultimate co-ordinate 142.8 metres above the ground. The tower’s structural columns define, and are enclosed within, a double façade system that reflect these centripetal vectors, generating a dynamic symbiosis between a fixed structural core of this Head Office and its peripheral array of columns.
Marseille, one of the largest cities in France, is an historic Provencal city centred around the centuries-old harbour, with a rich past of several cultural interventions from Phoenician, to Greek, to the Romans. This fortified city has grown into a cosmopolitan metropolis due to its development into one of the most important international ports in Europe. With the city’s distinguished naval history, and the unique sighting of the CMA CGM tower beside both the harbour and the major motorway interchange, there is an opportunity to provide a highly visible landmark building to act as a gateway to the city from both land and sea. This new tower would be an iconic vertical element that interacts with the other significant landmarks of Marseille: La Major; the Basilica Notre Dame de la Garde; the Fort St. Jean; and the Chateau d’If.
The key challenge for the design of the CMA CGM Headquarter tower is the integration of the building environment and the creation of a totally unique, iconic edifice. The current CMA CGM headquarters distinguishes itself with a prominent position within immediate vicinity of the Mirabeau site. Flowing past the site on both sides is an elevated motorway viaduct that bifurcates at the western edge of the new tower’s location. At ground level, a major new transport interchange will allow pedestrians to access the new public transport facilities for the this district of Marseille. Whilst the quai and its waterways are also adjacent to site of the new tower. Directly at the confluence of this dynamic urban movement, the new Tower would accentuate its verticality and create a signature feature that would set a commanding new presence.
- A chilled beam air conditioning system combining comfort and lower energy costs
- Better natural lighting (all offices, most in open space configuration, are receiving direct sunlight)
- Dual-skin façade for better heat efficiency
- Energy efficient building facilities
A substantial project:
- 2 millions working hours,
- 45 semi trucks, that is 1000 tons of building materials delivered every day
- A monthly volume of concrete equivalent to 3 Olympic swimming pools
- 6,300 glass panels equivalent to 5 football fields
- Electric cable as long as the distance between Marseilles and Paris (900 km)
- 65,000 cubic meters of concrete (168 000 tons)
- 7,000 tons of steel
- 100,000 cubic meters of excavation
Zaha Hadid Architects
The disparate volumes of the tower are generated from a number of gradual centripetal vectors that emerge from within the solid ground surface, gently converging towards each other and then bending apart, towards its ultimate coordinate. The tower’s structural columns define, and are enclosed within, a double façade system that reflects these centripetal vectors, generating a dynamic symbiosis between the fixed structural core of the Head Office and its peripheral array of columns.
The key design challenge was the integration of the building environment and the creation of a totally unique, iconic edifice.
Flowing past the Mirabeau site on both sides is an elevated motorway viaduct that bifurcates at the western edge of the new tower’s location. At ground level, a major new interchange allows pedestrians to access new public transport facilities, whilst the quay and its waterways are also adjacent to our site.
Directly at the confluence of this dynamic urban movement, the new tower accentuates its verticality and creates a signature feature that sets a commanding new presence.
The unique design strategy of the new CMA CGM Headquarters divides the overall volume into smaller fragments and reassembles them in a way that maintains the integral uniformity of the tower but with design elements that optimise its relationship with the city of Marseille.
Detailed exploration and research has created the possibility of a more elegant fluid, sculptural form. The building maintains regularity in the upper levels whilst the lower portion ‘morphs’ from the vertical to the horizontal to relate to the extreme horizontal energy of pedestrian, automobile, tram and shipping movements at ground level.
The curving profiles on the exterior façades work with the central core of the building, bringing a rigid frame and a sense of movement to this completely new typology of tower.
Project name: CMA CGM Headquarters
Location: 4 Quai d’Arenc, 13002 Marseille, France
Type: Office Building, Skyscraper
Specific Use of Building: Office Tower
- Site Area: 8,400 sqm
- Total floor Area: 94,000 sqm
- Gross floor Area: 64,000 sqm
- Footprint Area: 6,000 sqm
- Total Exterior Glass Surface Area: 53,000 sqm
- 147 meters tall
- 75 meters at its widest point
- 33 stories high (each story measuring 2.8 meters)
- Total capacity: 2700 persons
- 20 elevators (including 2 with panoramic view and 5 freight elevators) in the Tower and “Annexe” building
- Parking lots: 12,500 sqm 5 parking levels (770 parking spaces for cars and 200 for two-wheel vehicles)
Project Year: 2005-2010
Cost: € 120,000,000
Completion Year: March 2012
Client / Owner / Developer: CGA CGM
Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects – Studio London, 10 Bowling Green Lane, London, United Kingdom
Design Architect:Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher
Project Director: Jim Heverin
Project Architect: Stephane Vallotton, Karim Muallem
Project Team: Karim Muallem, Simone Contasta, Leonie Heinrich, Alvin Triestanto, Muriel Boselli, Eugene Leung, Bhushan Mantri, Jerome Michel, Nerea Feliz, Prashanth Sridharan,Birgit Eistert, Evelyn Gono, Marian Ripoll, Andres Flores, Pedja Pantovic
Competition Team: Jim Heverin, Simon Kim, Michele Pasca Di Magliano, Viviana Muscettola
Partner Architect: SRA–RTA (Paris/ Marseille)
Structural / Services: Ove Arup & Partners (London)
Facade: Ove Arup & Partners (London), Robert-Jan Van Santen Associates (Lille)
Cost / QS: R2M (Marseille)
Text Description: © Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects, CMA CGM
Images: © Zaha Hadid Architects, Hufton + Crow, Iwan Baan, Christian Richters