The decision on the part of the municipal authorities of Montpellier to direct the orderly expansion of the town to the east stems from the desire to balance the city centre and integrate the banks of the river Lez into the urban fabric. “La Place du Nombre d’Or”, was the first project to be completed by RBTA in Montpellier, a construction which served as a motor force and architectonic reference for the development as a whole. “La Place du Nombre d’Or” is a symbolic element by virtue of the fact that it marks the beginning of the urban axis of the new district of Antigone and is the first of all the buildings that have been constructed over a period of almost twenty years. Housing units are set along the plaza perimeter. The buildings are built on a paved platform, which blends in with the plaza and meets the lawns which surround the existing urban layout.
The plan of the plaza, an archetypal form in classical architecture, distributes the 288 apartment units in three semicircles, four corners and an entrance gateway to the scheme. The semicircles are made up of square 12 x 12 m modules, laid out according to the geometry of a decagon. These modules, with ground and six upper floors, have two apartments on each floor.
The façades consist of pilasters and openings composed following an order which is repeated regularly, and are topped by an overhanging cornice with a parabolic section. The disposition of the volumes allows two different readings: articulated individual houses on the exterior, and a continuous façade on the interior, which creates a community space. These two readings are reinforced by the use of two different scales and orders.
Photo credits: Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura