Foster in Montecarlo

Yacht Club in Mónaco


Together with the automobile, the airplane, and the zeppelin, the ship was a mechanical dream of the modern architects, who envisioned in its forms the expression of a refined and graceful functionality, and also of the generation following them, which found a fertile metaphor in the maritime world. Now, the tradition punctuated by emblematic cases like Aizpurúa and Labayen’s Club Náutico of San Sebastián, Albert Frey’s Yacht Club in Salton Sea, or Jørn Utzon’s Sydney Opera House, with its organicist sails of concrete, has a new milestone in the Yacht Club de Monaco, the latest work of a quintessentially modern architect, Norman Foster.

Besides taking advantage of seawater for natural cooling purposes, the new yacht club unhesitatingly imitates the shape of an ocean liner and incrusts it into the oceanfront of Montecarlo on reclaimed land in the port area. A venue for social and sporting events and activities of the principality, the building is formed by a stack of terraces that unmistakably recall the decks and bridges of a ship, and are closed by a system of mobile glass walls with which to regulate the club’s degree of openness to the exterior at any time. From there, halfway between land and water and shaded on sunny days by retractable fabric screens supported by the building-ship’s masts and booms, one can enjoy magnificent privileged views out to sea, or inland once a year, to follow the famous Formula 1 races, and here again the modern penchant for machines.  

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