Benas Vencevičius

Borders & Territories

The Route of Honorary Consulates

Multi-tenant building for honorary consulates and state gifts depot project takes place in Vallon de la Rousse, Saint-Roman ward, Monaco. Vallon de la Rousse is a rare exception to Monaco, it is a natural valley with a spring coming from the French Alps, surrounded by Belle-Epoque buildings built on serpentines, terraces, or even rising from deep down the valley, it is untouched, not handled territory, hiding various layers of past, for example, XIX century train track bridge, which is cut off by newer developments. The main reason why this valley may not survive is over densification determined by Monaco being a “tax haven” attracting people, mostly millionaires, from all around the world leading to the fact that they make 77,5 % of Monaco’s population. The biggest impact of these immigrants is visible at the end of this valley, where the new skyscraper “fence” bordering with France is being built, wiping out everything in its way and housing embassies of Italy and France and apartments of mostly foreign millionaires.

An appointment as the consul of a foreign country was and still is a source of considerable social prestige in Monaco. Some of the poorest countries in the world are also represented by these consuls, but certainly not all. All these aspects composed together it was decided to create (or restore) the route leading from the upper Saint-Roman skyscraper district to the only Larvotto beach and promenade where events like Monaco Charity Film Festival takes place. This “theme park”, which are so common in Monaco, could offer better insight into the global problems, would contribute to the promotion of charitable work and would give equal rights for everyone representing it by offering housing in its program.

Other notable topics in this project were temporality and adaptation, usually, honorary consuls work only 2-3 hours per workday at their home or workplace also this function is always in question because of the human factor. This was one of the main reasons why re-use what already exists method for common use areas was used in various ways like excavating hall under the plaza, putting state gifts depot addition on the existing building, taking -1st levels premises, which are less popular in real estate market due to the lack of daylight or set up canteen function under imposing, lavishly decorated bridge. For consuls' pavilions suspended wood structure covered in tent material and insulation of recycled plastic bottles was used. While this image may evoke thoughts of a temporary campsite used in a critical situation at the same time it also fits Monaco and this building program, awnings and fabric are widely used, can be customizable and represent the country, recycled plastic insulation reminds of maritime protection problems with which deals Prince Albert II in his foundation, translucency not only lets the sunlight inside but also outside at night, its simplicity does not compete in beauty with the existing setting.

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