Research campus of the Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme – MMSH

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In Aix-en-Provence, Panorama Architecture delivers the extension to the research campus of the Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme – MMSH, specialized in the Mediterranean World

The Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme (The Mediterranean Center for Human Sciences) houses a human and social sciences research and training institute, specialized in the Mediterranean world.

The existing building, dating from the 1990s, is organized in a U-shaped floorplan around a garden. It is comprised of an entrance building facing the street, a double-height lobby with a cafeteria on the mezzanine level, an auditorium and two wings running north-south, which extend to the end of the garden.

Maison méditerranéenne des sciences de l’homme – FRADIN-WECK Architectes

The architecture of this extension to the existing building of the MMSH has been designed in an understated and elegant Mediterranean style composed of large masses with reduced apertures. This inward-looking construction surrounds a central landscaped garden.

The extension stands on the north side of the overall composition; its insertion respectful by design of its architecture and current functions. It fits into the overall organization like a new room and completes the composition. Inspired by Mediterranean architecture built with stone, the double thickness of the walls provides excellent insulation.

Maison méditerranéenne des sciences de l’homme – FRADIN-WECK Architectes

The challenge
To complete the built ensemble by creating new balance and a harmony with the existing building, highlighting the new facility with its own entrance and specific way of operating without disturbing the harmony of the place.

Maison méditerranéenne des sciences de l’homme – FRADIN-WECK Architectes

The project
To fit into the existing composition by enclosing the initial form in a U-shaped composition and transforming the open garden into a closed space, a patio. In alignment with existing façades, the building fits into the existing minimalist structure.

Transparency was created through the building by fragmenting it through the creation of two vertical fractures that guide the transparency toward the east. The openings are equipped with white concrete vertical vents that create, depending on their locations, points of view onto the closed massive, enclosed volumes.

A monumental staircase connects the two levels with an overhead skylight allowing sunlight to pour in all the way to the entry lobby.  At the back of the lobby, the auditorium with 80 places, a space totally clad in dark wood paneling contrasts with the white concrete exterior.

Rectorat d’Aix Marseille
Project management
Panorama Architecture
Cabinet Morère, Ingénierie 84, Adret, Naldéo (BET), BEC (Construction firm, structural works)
Creation of a research campus in Aix-en-Provence specialized in the Mediterranean: extension of the MMSH, an occupied site (offices, meeting and lecture rooms, laboratory, multipurpose/reception room)

Missions Basic, representative + OPC, SSI, SYN and MOB
Cost €4.3 M excl VAT
Surface area 1,004 m²
Calendar 2014/2019
Photo credits © We are contents





The Panorama architecture firm has been making its recognized cross-disciplinary skills available to its clients and working on a wide range of projects for 20 years now.

Among the firm’s closely held values are listening, knowledge transmission and the notions of innovation and commitment, which have served to build a solid and confident team.

One of the characteristics differentiating the firm resides in the quality of its architecture: restraint, elegance, simplicity, long-lasting are all terms that describe the firm’s identity.

These solid foundations have enabled partners Olivier Brouwez and Ignacio Tillard to develop a new vision based on the desire to reinvent, test and develop.

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