Provence & Côte d'Azur:A futuristic design for the town’s new cultural and sporting venues
Antibes-Juan les Pins for the 21st century
This month, The Riviera Times looks at current municipal building projects in Antibes-Juan les Pins due to be completed later this year and in 2013. The stated aim of the building programme is to stimulate the economy and create employment and wealth, while providing better cultural, sporting and medical facilities for residents and visitors. Funded by a combination of public and private sector partners, the cost to Antibes-Juan les Pins Council has been less than 20 per cent of the circa 175 million euros investment, and to date there has been no increase in local taxes.
Palais des Congrès
Immortalised in song by Peter Sarstedt in 1969, and the epitome of chic in the early 20th century, Juan les Pins remains a popular seaside resort that vibrates with life in the summer.
The space-age design Palais des Congrès will contain many conference rooms and exhibition areas as well as three levels of shops, a health and fitness centre, cafés and gourmet restaurants with panoramic views of the coast. It is a welcome development for tourism professionals as it will help to attract visitors outside the summer season, enabling shops and beach restaurants to remain open all year and dispelling the 'ghost town' image of Juan in winter.
A new Theatre and Entertainment Centre, not far from the town centre on the former basketball stadium site, will host a wide range of events, including dance, plays and pop concerts.
Resolutely modernist in style, the building will be visible from the town and port, shining out like a beacon and attracting audiences to the first large entertainment complex in Antibes.
All 1,300 seats will have a good view of the stage, and the theatre and will be equipped with high quality acoustics and sound systems. To complete the theatrical experience, there is to be a brasserie on the ground floor and a lounge area on the roof.
Meanwhile, on the edge of the old town, restructuring and renovation work to give new life to the former Court House is nearing completion, and the curtain will go up at the Théâtre du Tribunal in the autumn. Only the original façade of the building remains as the interior has been entirely restructured. The 73-seat theatre will be run by the Théâtre de la Marguerite, organiser of the Boeuf (improvisation) Theatre and Femin' Arte Festivals, among others. Artistic director, Fabienne Candella, is excited about the new venue and is busy planning a café-theatre programme. She also envisages having family shows at weekends and French song concerts.
New sports centre
The multifunction Sports Centre, resembling a flying saucer, is designed to stage a variety of sporting events. With its movable stands and modules, the main area can be arranged to seat up to 5,000 and is suitable for international boxing, basketball, handball, gymnastics, trampoline and tennis competitions. There are also relaxation and body-building rooms and a 1,000 square metre court for the France trampoline team, Dojo events, displays and shows.
Located on the northern edge of the town near the A8 (on the future CASA Transport site which will link Antibes centre with Sophia Antipolis), the sports complex is one of the first in France to be credited as a 'Low Energy Consumption Building', with solar panels providing 40 per cent of the hot water.
New health facilities
A new building adjacent to the maternity section of Fontonne Hospital is soon to open and will house a mother and child centre, with a day centre specialising in cancer treatment and eye surgery as well as an ENT Unit upstairs.
In the same area, a 125-bed public nursing home with 15 beds for Alzheimer's patients is also due to open later this year. To make residents feel at home, the four-storey building resembles the residences nearby and there is a leafy interior garden.