Studio Fuksas carves an urban landscape for the coastline of Fontvieille

Winning the competition for the restructuring and extension of the new Fontvieille site, Studio Fuksas' proposal is a vertical park connecting the natural and urban landscape.

by Sunena V MajuPublished on : Aug 08, 2022

For Monaco, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, an architectural movement is in place with many new projects bringing about a complete transformation in its identity and the character. In the epoch of the facelift, Studio Fuksas' proposal for the new site in Fontvieille bridges the country’s natural significance with its era of modernism. Amid the curious questions of how will the design define the coastline and landscape of the Fontvieille, Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas describe the design as "a hill that connects the sea to the city".

While creating a vertical park that accommodates cultural, commercial, public and landscaped spaces, the proposal addresses the major urban, architectural and ecological issues of the context | Fontvieille Site  | Studio Fuksas | STIRworld
While creating a vertical park that accommodates cultural, commercial, public and landscaped spaces, the proposal addresses the major urban, architectural and ecological issues of the context Image: © Studio Fuksas

Winning the competition for the project of the extension and restructuring of the site of Fontvieille, the proposal expects to reinvigorate the district and port of Monaco. While addressing prominent urban, architectural and ecological issues, the architects design a common space that accommodates cultural, commercial, public and landscape functions, all in one place. Guided by the natural elements of the context, the life of the building happens outside, towards the horizon. Within the large hanging gardens, superimposed terraces and the fluidity of the architecture, the proposal extends to create a dialogue between the existing landscape and the developing urban fabric. Simulating the movement of the waves and the topography of the seabed, the curved lines of the geometry become an extension of the rock from the mountain to the sea. Addressing their attention to include pedestrians and the people of the city in the design, Studio Fuksas said, “Indeed, the pedestrian flows completely cross the project and become real scenic walks with privileged points of view on the horizon: the Rock, the Exotic Garden and the cliff of the Head of the Dog.”

The design connects the natural landscape of Fontvieille to an organic and fluidic architectural narrative to create a dialogue between the urban and the natural environment | Fontvieille Site  | Studio Fuksas | STIRworld
The design connects the natural landscape of Fontvieille to an organic and fluidic architectural narrative to create a dialogue between the urban and the natural environment Image: © Studio Fuksas

Spread across five levels, each level is identified by a different colour that are linked to individual landscape elements. The ground floor is red, resembling the shadow of the tiles of the historic centre of Monaco. The first floor is blue, like the sea; the second floor is lavender, like the flower that grows in the south of France and the third floor is ocher, like the shades of the surrounding facades. On the fourth floor, the grey colour of the hanging garden evokes the memory of the cliffs of the Côte d'Azur. Adding to it, each of these colours can be seen in the flooring, furniture and ceilings. Explaining further, the architects clarified, "The coloured drops that define the floors with their organic forms are sandstone or marble. These drops of colour are reproduced on the ceiling, lit by coloured LEDs. The furniture is also designed according to the organic lines.”

Each floor of the building is distinguished by colours linked to a unique landscape element | Fontvieille Site  | Studio Fuksas | STIRworld
Each floor of the building is distinguished by colours linked to a unique landscape element Image: © Studio Fuksas

Introducing the traditional context of the site into a new architectural identity, the architects create large pockets of greenery at different levels to break the constraints that separate the indoors and the outdoors. While overlaying the levels on the terraces and the large openings that connect the interior commercial spaces to the outdoors, the design of the building provides maximum visibility into the building from the highest point to the sea. While creating a new narrative with the natural elements, at every level, the central space opens onto a terrace that overlooks the sea and frames views of Fort Fontvieille Rock. "The ecological aspect is one of the essential elements of the project, whose impact on the site allows to develop a 'green corridor' between the Rock and the Exotic Garden. The greenery of the building introduces nature into the urban space, creating a new landscape up to the sea," share the architects. Even when the structure adopts elements of contemporary architecture, the fluidity and the open nature of the design integrate maximum transparency and adorn the outdoors with local plant elements so as to become an extension of the contextual landscape and not a concrete physical entity. Though the approach seems environmentally responsible, the realisation of the project and its functioning will have to be the witness of the impact the built would have on the sensitive natural backdrop of Fontvieille.

In the attempt to create a new landscape up to the sea, Studio Fuksas is creating a physical identity that acts as a link between the natural and the man-made Video: © Studio Fuksas

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