MSA Stage 5 School of Architecture

Nirali Bhatt-Roberts

Diploma in Architecture- Glasgow School of Art

Bachelor in Architecture- Queens University Belfast

My interest in architecture stems predominantly from a social interest in designing for all people in an equitable and inclusive way. I believe community based projects to be of great importance, with all the users’ interests and needs in mind. I come from a very multidisciplinary background, with strong interests in art, photography, culture, identity, literature, poetry, music and activism, and because of this I understand that architecture is at its strongest when it sits at intersections and addresses multiple things at once. Above all, I hold empathy to be the most important skill an architect can have, and is central to my practice.

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Collage of Connections

Collage of Connections


This project is all about repairing the social disconnects of Marseille. Connecting the masses back to the sea. Connecting the north and the south of the city. Connecting people with one another. Connecting migrants new and old to the city. By bridging the old port where the historic transporter bridge once sat, it reduces the time it takes on foot to travel between north and south; from the previous 30 minutes to walk the entire loop of the old port. It uses play and playful design as an essential tool to help adults remember how to connect through childlike joy. It gives space for storytelling as an essential vehicle to encourage curiosity and connection through empathy, unearthing the hidden histories of Marseille and the lost oral traditions of the many migrant cultures that make Marseille the city it is today. The two towers are in conversation: one absorbing culture and stories in from the city, one amplifying it back out.

The amplifying tower’s main space is the ground floor theatre, with seating within the port. It also has a series of open platform lifts that interact with this stage and others, allowing actors to enter and exit the stages, but also allowing people interacting with the building to become a part of the performance: the theatre of life.

There are two main spaces of the absorbing tower, the first of which is the archive: a space to archive the performances that take place in the amplifying tower.This archive is organised by continent and will start off empty, and as the life of the project progresses it will be filled, creating a visual record and highlighting the gaps of the stories that still need to be told and heard. The second is the ramp system: allowing people of all abilities to meander through and around the building, allowing views of the sea and surrounding port: a promenade in the sky.

Between the two towers is a suspension bridge, referencing back to the original transporter bridge, and a series of pontoons and moving platforms to allow people to cross at ground level, but also to allow for flexible performance stages, disseminating the story of the building around the port. A system of ‘pavements in the sea’ inspires connection around the port, and a more walkable way to enjoy the sea.

This project is about helping all people to feel connected, with a particular focus on connecting migrants to Marseille, its people, each other, and the sea.