MULTIFUNCTIONAL COMPLEX LA PETITE AFRIQUE | The Plan
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MULTIFUNCTIONAL COMPLEX LA PETITE AFRIQUE

LUXURY AND SOBRIETY

Isay Weinfeld

MULTIFUNCTIONAL COMPLEX LA PETITE AFRIQUE
By Luca Maria Francesco Fabris -
Jung, Astec, Arper, Paolo Castelli Spa have participated in the project

In the popular imagination, Monte Carlo brings to mind the glittering lifestyles of the rich and famous, the Formula One car race, and the world of high finance, all concentrated in the tiny space that is the Principality of Monaco bordering the Ligurian Sea on the Côte d’Azur. In actual fact, this tiny independent state is a city that in the last fifty years has conquered land from the sea. Today, more than 40% of Monte Carlo is made up of polders. Its relentless development, however, has often been at the expense of both the natural landscape and aesthetics. So while, on the one hand, Monte Carlo remains the city-state par excellence, attracting high-end tourism and international finance, on the other, it is the epitome of contemporary urban chaos that, despite the flaunted luxury, often does not match up to the generally accepted canon of contemporary urban beauty. Fine Properties Monte Carlo, the real estate group that includes shareholders like the Pizzarotti Group and the Casiraghi family, cleverly sidestepped this risk when in 2011 they invited some of the world’s top architecture firms - including Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Shigeru Ban Architects, Kengo Kuma Architects and Adjaye Associates - to compete for the design of a property housing luxury apartments and up-market retail outlets to be built on the site of the rundown Banca Commerciale Italiana, earmarked for demolished. The competition brief was both simple yet complex. Large apartments had to be accommodated inside a volume that could be no more than ten stories high, and had to meld with the surrounding urban fabric, especially the nearby Casino Gardens, known as La Petite Afrique. There also had to be a private swimming pool on the roof and five below ground levels, four of which for vehicle parking. The winning entry met not only with public approval when the competition submissions were exhibited anonymously in the old bank building before it was demolished, but also with the two...

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