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April 2017

For two weeks, I was a visiting professor at the Villa Arson;

Terrace-Brise Soleil

Built on Saint-Barthélémy hill in Nice, with magnificent views over the city and the Bay of Angels, the Villa Arson is a utopian art school - something of an interest of mine - built on an ideal-model of a provençal village in a 'brutalist' style.

A historical account of the Villa Arson site could go something like this; it was home in the 16th and 17th Century to a community of Capuchin monks who cultivated orchards, vineyards, watercress beds, and olive groves. Then in the 18th century it was purchased by an aristocratic consul of Nice who built a mansion on the hill looking down to the city and the sea. In 1812, after the revolution and the end of aristocratic consul of Nice, all 6.5 hectares of the estate was purchased by a wealthy merchant, Pierre Joseph Arson. He remodeled the villa, and also designed a spectacular formal garden, constructed from successive terraces – parterres - criss-crossed with paths and staircases.

Over time and as fortunes changed the Arson family began selling off parts of the estate, by 1927 a clinic was built next to the villa, the villa became a hotel, and the site shrunk to 2.5 hectares. After the war, in 1946 the estate passed into the ownership of the City of Nice.

Over the last few years, as part of Critical Practice research cluster at Chelsea College of Arts, we have been hacking the popular board game Monopoly.

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whiskMuseum Futures rehearsalpost-bubble housing advertSunlight ScreeningThinking, hacking and makingTienda cerrada, Villalba