Initiatives in the field
29.06.2011

Renovation of the Manjakamiadana palace

The origins of the Rova palace stretch back to the conquest of Antananarivo by Andrianjaka, who reigned from 1610 to 1630. This palace of the Kings and Queens of Madagascar was to rapidly become the symbol of centralized power which gradually extended its authority to the whole of the “Grande Île”. Perched at the top of the highest summit of the 12 hills of Imerina (1,463 m), it was defended by nearly one thousand men. In fact the city's name, Iarivo or Antananarivo, means "the city of a thousand".

In 1995, a fire destroyed the entire wooden structure of the palace leaving only a weakened stone shell. It was in 2005 that the decision was taken to reconstruct the Rova palace. With the support of UNESCO, work started in 2006, and the site was honored with a visit from Kofi Annan, the then Secretary General of the United Nations. Colas Madagascar was awarded the contract (repairs to the foundations, construction of a reinforced concrete structure and full restoration of the stone facades) and became fully committed to the formidable rebuilding project:

  • donating €500,000 to complete funding this first phase of work which was stalled
  • training Malagasy personnel to give them specific skills in the restoration of heritage sites from the use of software that can produce three-dimensional modeling stone by stone, to stone cutters' know-how (use of specialized tools for cutting and ageing stone),
  • the Malagasy workers and craftsmen deserve a special tribute for tackling the painstaking restoration project. The Colas Madagascar teams were extremely proud to help a page of history rise from the ashes.
  • using cutting-edge skills to calculate concrete structures, underpinning foundations, erecting safety scaffolding, etc.
  • In December 2009, after more than 1.5 million man-hours put in by more than 200 workers, the historical restoration project - a field that is considered to be very accident-prone, was completed without a single major accident.

Through this contract, Colas has perpetuated a long tradition of blending architectural styles that began in the 18th century, combining the very particular design of Madagascar’s Royal Palaces with influences from France (Louis Gros followed by Jean Laborde for the wooden palace) and Scotland (James Cameron for the stone cladding).

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- njaka.ramarotafika@COLAS.MG