Visitors to Nice are as dazzled by the Mediterranean seascape as they are by the city’s architecture, flamboyant relics of the Belle Époque. (Be sure to check out our February 2014 cover story on the architecture and ambiance of a golden era.)

And now, to the great delight of culture buffs, new 3D renderings depict the city’s great historic monuments that have been lost. Architect Mario Basso painstakingly recreated the famous Casino, perched on the pier, suspended seven metres above the Mediterranean off the Promenade-des-Anglais.

Stumbling upon a vintage postcard at a flea market, Basso was inspired to recreate the landmark that had been demolished in 1944. He researched exact proportions and design elements in building the 3D model.

After the Casino Jetée-Promenade, Basso has recreated another Belle Époque monument, the Casino Municipal, which had been destroyed by the city in 1979. Browsing the puces for old photos of this lost history, the passionate architect spends nights and weekends “building” these bâtiments. It wasn’t easy, as most of the vintage cartes postales only depict the front façade.

As quoted in Nice Matin, the Basso explains, “I love contemporary architecture, but I’m attached to Niçois architectural heritage.”

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