The district is build on the grounds of the former Joffre barracks, of which nowadays only Montpellier's citadel remains. In 1977, then mayor Georges Frêche started the process that led to the construction of the district.
The district's architect is Ricardo Bofill, from nearby Catalonia. It is designed in a grand neo-classical way, blowing up classical motives such as pediments, entablatures and pilasters to gigantical scale. The district is located between the old centre of Montpellier and the river Lez. At the opposite site of the river, the Hôtel de la Région Languedoc-Roussillon is also designed by Bofill and together with Antigone makes for one great visual axis 1 kilometre in length, nicknamed the Champs-Élysées of Montpellier.
After Antigone, more sites on this side of Montpellier were developed.
The buildings consist mostly of low-income housing, public facilities and local shops, thus creating a lively district.