If the investigations on architecture of the second twentieth century are now about ten years old, this heritage remains largely less recognized by the edility and the public, hence the interest of the censuses and monographs proposed here. Logically, after the census phase, which delimited the corpus of ensembles and residencies in Marseilles in its extension, the aim was to reduce their contours in order to develop a greater understanding, formalized by the monograph sheets. By definition, they reflect only one object of the corpus, but all the monographs thus constitute a collection covering a series of similar objects allowing the construction of typologies, classifications and comparisons.
23.0318 - Gaston Berger
Saint-Lazare, south of the 3rd arrondissement
Literature references: 20th century heritage, domestic architecture
n° répertoire édition X : 0318, p 7. 2005
Label Patrimoine du XXe siècle, 2006
Conception & writing T. Durousseau arch. 2007
designation: Cité Universitaire Gaston Berger
43 rue du 141e RIA, quartier Saint-Lazare 13003
Lambert 3: latitude 3.04175; longitude 433065
Access: metro 1 and 2: Saint-Charles, bus no. 49 a and 49b: Canebière - Belle de Mai
Owner: Habitat Marseille Provence
Manager: Centre régional des oeuvres universitaires et sociales,
6 avenue Benjamin Abram, 13621 Aix-en-Provence, 04 42 16 13 13
program: 400 student rooms, university restaurant 500 seats, conference room, gym 800 m2.
Contracting authority: Office Public municipal d'Habitations à Loyer Modéré de Marseille, on behalf of CROUS Aix-Marseille.
dates, authors: PC: 1958. Completion of 1960 works. Rehabilitation 1982-86.
Jacques Berthelot, architect,
Christian Pichoux, Operations Architect.
Enterprise, Boussiron, Structural.
site: Saint-Charles grounds, PLM station, university completed in 1920, extension after war. Hill altitude 54 m. Central urban area of the Urban Plan Director of 1949.
mass plane: Block of rooms R+11 in high point of the site, tablecloth gymnase, restaurant in the slope, terraces in the south.buildingStructure concrete, porticos, posts beams. Various stones on the ground and in front. Good general condition.
sources: AD: 2071 W 11 (37.397), 165 W 220, 12 O 330
Journal Urbanisme n° 68
Journal Architecture d'Aujourd'hui n° 104, 1962
Revue Architecture Française n° 231, 232
The hill of Saint-Charles remained for a long time a steep site, beaten by the winds. It was in 1848 with the construction of the station that the district began to change. The establishment of a university is envisaged under the municipality Flaissières and a competition is launched for the construction of the Faculty of Science. Victor Auguste Blavette, Prix de Rome 1879, is the winner. The work was interrupted by the Great War, and the premises were not inaugurated until 1919.
At the same time, the first student hostel was built in Toulon. Under the Popular Front, the minister Jean Zay organizes student hostels (Cité Abram in Aix-en-Provence, 1936, by Gaston Castel).
The law of 1955 makes it possible to develop the university work through the Regional Centres of University and Social Works. The Cité Saint-Charles is quickly programmed but, without its own engineering structure, it is the Public Housing Office of the City that will take charge of its realization. The absence of R. Egger from the project management team is explained by the fact that the project management is not covered by Education Nationale.
The Cité will have a certain critical fortune through French magazines. It is built at the top of Saint-Charles hill and near the Faculty of Science on the grounds of an old factory. It is part of a group that includes a new amphitheatre and a library due to F. Pouillon. However, some elements of the program, such as concierge, medical services and administration, originally housed in a circular building, will not be realized.
The program adapts to the uneasy slopes: it successively floors a gymnasium adorned with massive stone of the Pont du Gard, whose roof serves as a terrace at the university restaurant. The latter can accommodate 500 people. It is built on a double level and covered with an inverted roof supported by ribbed porticoes on the top, leaving the restaurant room without any internal support. The connection with the 400-room student residence is linked to the welcome that a music lounge and a conference room offer.
The building of the residence is located at the highest point of the land and has 10 levels of rooms. In the declivity, between two service floors it reveals the columns and beams of the reinforced concrete framework.
The linear distribution building dislocates transversely by incorporating, in the rupture plane, all the vertical circulations. The section plans, updated by the shift, contain the stairs, widely glazed and protected by umbrellas. The rooms, at the standard of the moment, are equipped with a sink; the original project shows a mobile wall sconce that pivots between the desk and the bed! Each floor has grouped sanitary facilities and shared kitchenettes.
The gables are animated by fire escapes with silts very drawn as well as facing of varied granulometry. The sills of the walls of the staircases are covered with laminated stone of the Pont du Gard and Brouzet.
At volumetric staging corresponds a staging of materials that leaves the yellow ochre gymnasium by the opposition of condensed bays (large hall) to fragmented drillings (changing rooms).
The floor of the terrace is paved with polychrome stones: porphyries of Agay, stones of the Levant and Burgundy, paired in Roman opus pattern implemented by the Companions of Duty. The sumptuous appearance of this chamarré paving can be found in vertical facing on the front of the reception and gives a very current dimension to the quality of the outdoor space.
A fresco overlooking the west terrace of the restaurant seems to have disappeared.
Several times rehabilitated, the university residence has retained all the expressive character of its volume and its singular textures, it remains little visible behind the large university buildings, whose overall implementation plan has been lacking since V. A. Blavette’s project.
Jacques Berthelot (1908-1998),
student of Paul Tournon, is architect of operation on the reconstruction of the Cronstadt quay in Toulon with J. de Mailly.
He participated in the realization of several other student residences: in Saint-Jérôme in 1965 and at the Timone (Lucien Cornil) in 1967.
He also contributed to the second programme of the Industrial Sector for the operations of Consolat-Mirabeau and Rougière between 1961 and 1963.
© Thierry Durousseau, 2004-2005