MSA Stage 5 School of Architecture

Emily Paton

Nourishing Noailles: Médina Culinaire

Nourishing Noailles: Médina Culinaire

This architectural thesis aims to explore the relationship between food and architecture within a Mediterranean context.

The definition of ‘taste’ originally referred only to the sensations of the palate and has taken on a broader cultural significance as an aesthetic standard. Food and architecture share a similar transformation taking raw ingredients/materials and combining them to create a desired output. The traditions and rituals set within the dining experience, question this transformation of authenticity. Is authenticity about the process, ingredients and construction or the final product?

Behind the notion of taste, both aesthetically and sensory, is a basic desire to please the consumer. Over the years this has become lost within contemporary architecture. This thesis aims to demonstrate the strong tie between culture and place through a culinary exchange centre dedicated to preserving and celebrating Marseille’s culinary heritage. Culture is the elevation of basic human needs and the common need for food and shelter is what bonds people together within communities.

The traditional bonds between culture and place have been severed by the devaluation of both buildings and food. Bland food = Bland Architecture. Exploring the design around eating habits and social-related customs in vernacular architecture inspired the form and organisation of Médina Culinaire. People seek the familiar in every locale and the comforts of home are signalled within the civic landmark.

Mediterranean Connections

Marseille has a very strong trading history, being the core of the Meditteranean. The city is used as a tool for connecting the surrounding cities.

Culinary Connections

Using a culinary link between the different cultures of the Mediterranean, provides a method of exchange.

Marseille Context

Located in the centre of Marseille, known as the „Belly of Marseille“.

Location Plan

Located in the district of Noailles, East of the old port. It holds the oldest market of Marseille, with a strong history of trade within the district. The area has suffered severe neglect over the years with many buildings collapsing.

Site Plan

Highlighting the key route between the existing markets, repairing the culinary link and built environment within.

Site Exploration - Terracotta Connections

Repairing the neighbourhood with local terracotta creates a visual harmony within the neighbourhood, bringing hope to the crumbling neighbourhood.

From Market to Plate

Exploring the culinary journey from market to plate, taking the raw product to its finished form and how this connects the urban form within the district.

Organisation Concept

Analysing the motions during a dining experience influenced the layout of the building, creating a core in which spaces revolve around. Each space has unique requirements, however they carry the same vaulted form in variation. Once each space had been designed for its required usage, it was then ‘carved’ into the buildings floorplan. Creating a typical floor plan which is rotated around a symmetrical core creates an intersecting and overlapping sequence. This allows for double height space and creates stability through the cross sections. The vaults are structurally capable to hold themselves through the forced tension of the bricks. The layering of floor plates highlights the intersections where mass runs from top to bottom.

Ground Floor PLAN

Section LONG

Cross Section Through Market

Axonometric Section

Front Elevation

Rear Elevation

Relationship with Existing Market

Front Elevation Entrance

Rear Entrance

Kitchen Spaces

Ritual Spaces

Learning Spaces

Vault Exploration

Catalan Vault Detail


Connecting Spaces

Culinary Exchange

Community Exhibition Space

Jaalis Brick Design

Light Circulation

Main Dining Space