Major cities are currently facing up to issues surrounding their growth. Sparse and expensive building land has lead to the densification of plots. As such, vertical development has become a solution for the future.
In Monaco, more than elsewhere, the only way to develop is up. The Simona, located in the Jardin Exotique neighbourhood, at the city limits, will stand as an example for the principality’s new planning initiatives.
Thus, the opportunities inherent in high-rise development have been seized to provide apartments with the best views over the exceptional landscape and the best exposure, supplying the city with a unique structure, representative of future local developments.
Such a construction provides great comfort for its apartments: the views, an open outlook. The project’s impact upon the city is quite considerable.
The project is ambitious: it seeks to deliver a study in housing typology and, beyond the building itself, an analysis of urban structure and a response to the question of the city’s densification.
The structure’s unusual vocabulary will broaden the city’s palette. The building raises questions; its very visibility will involve it in considerations about the city’s development.
ARCHITECTURAL CONCEPT, SITE ANALYSIS
The plot is exceptionally located – right by the Parc Princess Antoinette. The location provides the building with a precious green haven, rarely found in the city centre. The road is not taken as a point of reference; here the building seems to emerge from the garden, with an elegant footbridge to the boulevard, thus connecting it to the city.
The project was borne of the analysis of this situation: a building growing out of the earth. The design divides the project into vertical, crystalline lines.
Thus, large white blocks stand out, suggesting ever shifting perspectives on approaching the structure. The large, central schism invites the sky and the city into the structure. The cylinder of swimming pools in the foreground, with its randomly perforated front emphasizes the design’s mineral quality.
Spacious terraces, protected by a concrete grid, capture the light and stylise the choice of perforations, where windows are not longer a defining feature.
With a top height of 179m, the structure rises from earth to heavens in a continuous movement, the towering shapes on its roof provide a continuation of this thrust and, as ordered, a smooth transition with the sky.
The building plot is located around 20 metres from the Exotic Gardens Boulevard, and at a considerably lower level. As such, the questions of access to the car park and entrance hall were crucial.
Car park access: the possibility, and choice of linking up to the Exotic Garden public car park tunnel meant freeing the base of the building from access ramps and developing it into a landscaped park, providing pedestrians with secure access.
Pedestrians: access the building using a footbridge from the Exotic Garden Boulevard. Its level determines the position of the entrance hall which is thus on the sixth floor from the base of the building. From this level, an entrance hall with panoramic view of the garden provides access to two panoramic elevators which lead to the apartments.
The footbridge has been designed to feel like a walk through a park: it hangs over a pool, has an entirely grown pergola, and it provides a panoramic view of the parc Princesse Antoinette.
APARTMENT TYPOLOGY: THE VILLA BUILDING
The building is made up of two towers housing 26 living spaces. The apartments, essentially duplexes, all take up two floors of a tower.
Each apartment has the layout of a villa: four facades, a large terrace, a swimming pool, no adjoining apartments.
Thus, more than a simple building, the project is a study in housing typology. Houses are superimposed, meaning no neighbours, a clear outlook, and breathtaking views.
The apartments are duplexes with living rooms facing South / South East, providing views over the park and, in the distance, Fontvieille and the Port.
Each apartment covers two floors in a block, with a private landing, directly accessible from the lift, leading to it.
Large high-ceilinged living rooms open wide onto the landscape, extended by long terraces covered in wood and dressed with a mesh which makes them true outdoor rooms.
Swimming pools form the finishing touch, lending an exceptional quality to the apartments. An automatic system secures the pool area, thus providing safety, in particular for children. The kitchens are directly accessible from the service staircase. They include a service entrance, and their own lift.
Each apartment includes four bedrooms. The landing is a balcony off the living room. Each bedroom has an adjoining bathroom, and most of them have a walk-in-closet.
The structure is built out of concrete, malleable enough to achieve the curves in the facades and the grids for the terraces. Cast concrete is a sure means of achieving the shapes in drawings. Far from being a simple building material, concrete is used for its qualities.
The building is a double structure, with delicate concrete and glass footbridges connecting the two towers, letting the light through and playing with a sense of verticality.
Both towers’ facades are perforated with little openings created by inlaid coloured glass which will provide light but also a clear outlook for the rooms. The splashes of colour created in this way will light up the
Programme 26 apartments
Contractor SAM Esperanza
Architectural project manager Agence Jean-Pierre Lott Suzanne Belaieff achitect
Consultants Gros oeuvre: E&G
Heating / air conditioning / ventilation / plumbing: SNC Lavalin
Technical inspection agency: Apave
General contractor SAM des entreprises JB PASTOR et Fils
Surface area 7 500 m² of housing 450 m² of gym / pool (non including the cellar, circulations, parking lot, various premises)
Height 88 m
Volume of concrete 13,000 m³
Framework 1,200 tonnes