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Foster Envisions Dramatic Facelift for Italian Beachfront

October 9, 2008

By Tim McKeough

Foster + Partners has designed a major new waterfront development for Rimini, Italy, a mid-sized city located on the Adriatic Sea. The firm unveiled its proposal, a collaboration with developer Gruppo Gecos, in June after local officials invited ideas to improve the area.

Rimini, Italy
Image courtesy Foster + Partners
Foster + Partners has designed a major new waterfront development for Rimini, Italy, a seaside city in Italy. The plan calls for a new seaside promenade, a 1,000-foot-long pier, a hotel tower, and a museum for filmmaker Federico Fellini, a Rimini native and famed director of and La Dolce Vita.
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The plan, which covers about 300,000 square feet, calls for a new seaside promenade, a 1,000-foot-long pier, a hotel tower, and a museum for filmmaker Federico Fellini, a Rimini native and famed director of and La Dolce Vita. It also extends an existing park to create a much-needed connection between the city and the water, says Luis Matania, partner in charge. “The old city is very nice and there’s a green strip of a park that runs from the city center toward the seafront, but it stops about 200 meters short,” Matania says. “We feel it’s a shame that these two things don’t work together, and our proposal is to continue that park right up to the seafront.”

The theme of connection continues along the waterfront, where a canal currently bisects the beach. The Foster plan vaults that gap with the pier, which will run the length of the canal and continue into the sea—a move that has some historical precedence.“In early photos, we see that there was an old pier in this location,” says Matania. “We wanted to draw on the past to make something that covers this canal, but also provide the modern-day version of the pier.” The new pier will be partially covered with an undulating roof structure, evoking the movement of the sea, and will be populated by businesses such as cafes and gelaterias,

On land, the pier will be anchored by a glass, peanut-shaped hotel tower expected to rise 25 stories. “Rimini is very flat, so this would give it an accent building,” says Matania. The hotel’s ground level will be dedicated to the Fellini museum, envisioned as a key attraction. Indeed, one of the project’s main goals is to position Rimini as a year-round tourist destination.

City officials will decide this fall whether to move forward with the proposal. Construction could begin as early as next year.

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