Mediterranean Institute of Neurobiology


Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Interior Architecture


The new Institute of Neurobiology is situated along the Mediterranean in Marseille, France. The site faces out to the sea and is anchored towards the Calanques. The new institute lays in the borderline of the block structure of the university campus.

The projects organization is clearly defined in context to the existing campus and surrounding landscape. The different elements are carefully composed letting the building and its landscape merge into one unit. An open-air inner patio is encircled with the institution’s more public functions.

Technical details

Education & Research
Marseille, France

Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale (INSERM)

5000 m2

The construction site was carved out using wire-saw technique leaving the revealed limestone visible in some of the walls and floors. The limestone was sliced into thinner tiles and used as façade-elements on parts of the building. Other building materials are regional stone, rendered plaster in earth tones, and glass façades that form a dialog between the local culture and modern design.

The main outdoor stair defining the edge of the institute courtyard is aligned on an axis with the mountain, le Puget. The stair gently leads the visitor through the complex. Organizationally, you will find the research facilities lifted and aligned with the orientation of the campus quad.

The facilities are oriented to take advantage of local climate factors. North-facing laboratories and south-facing offices take advantage of natural lighting and use wooden louvers as integral sun-shading devices.

All photos: Christian Michel