History and design
The district is built on the grounds of the former Joffre Barracks, of which only Montpellier's citadel remains. In 1977, Mayor Georges Frêche started the process that led to the construction of the district.
The district's architect was the Spanish Ricardo Bofill and his Taller de Arquitectura. He designed a series of grand neo-classical structures, enlarging classical motifs such as pediments, entablatures and pilasters to gigantic scale. The district is located between the old centre of Montpellier and the river Lez. On the opposite side of the river is the Hôtel de la Région Languedoc-Roussillon, another Bofill design. Together they make for a unified visual axis one kilometre in length, nicknamed the Champs-Élysées of Montpellier.
After Antigone, more sites on this side of Montpellier were developed.
The buildings consist mostly of low-income housing, public facilities and local shops.
The Antigone project, on a 36 hectares plot, has been one of the largest single developments completed in France and attracted worldwide interest. In 1979, the newly elected municipal council of Montpellier decided to undertake urban development and developea new district on a site near the city centre. The purpose of this town-planning operation was to develop a new district along a central axis which would provide for the city's balanced eastward expansion and link the historical centre to the river Lez. The architect Ricardo Bofill created the master plan and most of the buildings in Antigone. From the design of the plazas to the details of the facades and exterior furniture and landscape elements, everything is proportionally and thematically related, creating a stylistic unity in a district full of boulevards and plazas, parks, major residential areas, shops, schools and sports, cultural and administrative facilities.
Antigone's projects designed by Bofill included:
- La Place du Nombre d'Or (288 apartments and shops)
- Les Echelles de la Ville (offices)
- Les Rives du Lez (landscape design of Lez riverbed)
- Headquarter of the Regional government of Languedoc-Roussillon
- Le Port Juvénal (350 apartments)
- Hotel Mercure (5- star hotel)
- Le Parnasse (100 apartments)
- Le Capitole (apartments and shops)
- La Tour Europe (offices)
- Les Guinguettes (2 restaurants)
- Olympic Swimming Pool of Montpellier
Antigone is served by lines 1 and 4 of the Montpellier tramway. There are three stops: Antigone, Leon Blum and Place de l'Europe.
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