Juvenile detention educational facility in Marseille by COMBAS architecture office

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Juvenile detention educational facility — Marseille

A new educational detention center for minors is opening in the Chutes Lavie neighborhood, located in the 13th arrondissement of Marseille.

In the kind of context where security requirements often take precedence over the quality of interior spaces, this project for an educational detention center for minors was inspired by a strong desire to create a counterpoint, in example, to make the enclosure disappear in order to open the view of the young occupants onto a new horizon.

In 2013, the Ministry of Justice issued a request for proposals to design and build a new juvenile educational detention center, aimed at focusing penitentiary policy more on prevention than on repression.

The new complex, imagined by the COMBAS architecture office, formed a large U-shape, designed to host the children on the ground floor, in a warm and enveloping form. At the entrance, a portal opens first onto the first courtyard shaded by an ancient ash tree, on the south side of the building, an orchard revives the agricultural identity of this property formerly run as a truck farmer of the northern neighborhoods of Marseille.

Facing its garden, the roofs come together like two L shapes, which seem to have pivoted from a corner of the building to open onto a patio with pierced opening resembling a cloister. This arrangement offers young occupants comforting shade and an unobstructed view over the city.

All the façades, which are cut out from the exterior, are made of solid stone in the Mediterranean tradition, whereas the inside walls made of board-formed textured concrete are left exposed. Traces of the wood formwork are also visible in the hallway. The use of rough materials allows for the interplay of sobriety and a stripped down look to provide a warm and robust educational context.


Juvenile educational detention center, 14 rooms

9, Impasse Saint Sylvestre, 13011 Marseille

Client delegate
Ministry of Justice, DIRPJJ Sud-Est
Operation supervisor: M.Baptista
Project Director: M.Rabany

Commissioned architects: Atelier COMBAS
Associate architect: Éric Grenier
Collaborators: Thomas André, Paul Mouton

Engineering and other consultants
Utilities and various networks: Artelia
Structure: CALDER
Economy & OPC: Edifys
Landscape architect: Martel & Michel
Structural work: Moretti
Exterior carpentry: Alphalu 13
Interior layout: Roussel
Electricity: Calorie Confort

Completed according to the law MOP + EXE + OPC

Competition: October 2013
Works started: October 2015
Delivery: April 2017

945 m² of usable surface area + 2450 m² of exterior areas

€2,280,000 excluding VAT

Javier Callejas ©

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