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A Marseille Retirement Village

Part 1 Project 2007
James Palmer
Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL London UK
Old People are Cool: Marseille is a city with a mix of cultures and communities and the social climate is changing as life expectancy increases. In 2003 a heatwave killed thousands across France. Marseille’s casualties were concentrated in poorer North African communities who face systematic economic marginalization; living at home, unable to moderate their environment and without air conditioning. In this context I propose a retirement home with architectural niches catering for the variety of users that can be changed to suit the moment. The program and site are interwoven by the architecture, providing social and environmental benefits.
James Palmer

James’s project combines serious issues with witty and technically adept proposals for what could lightly be described as hotel, home and hospice for the retired. The 2003 heatwave that engulfed the City of Marseille escalated the mortality rate of the elderly violently. James investigates subtle passive ways of regulating thermal comfort while using humorous methods of provoking memories (the embedded metro car), bringing different generations together and quirky alarm systems (the balloon signifiers). His desire to find responsible solutions to particular contextual and sociological conditions leads to an architecture with invention, humour and technical magic.

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