Friday, April 23, 2010

New Architecture in the Eternal City

With 3000 years of architectural history at their doorstep, Romans continually face the question of how to accommodate growth while respecting the past. Two recent projects stand far enough outside the historic center (in Flaminio) that their bold street presence does not offend this great history.

Renzo Piano's Auditorium Parco della Musica, completed in 2002, is a grouping of three sculptural copper-clad forms which house the three auditoria. Situated in a park-like environment, the sculptural forms are given freedom of expression not often found in this dense city.
Nearby is the new (still unopened as of April 2010) Maxxi Museum by Zaha Hadid. A dramatic collage of sweeping geometric forms, the building's energy is barely contained by the site. It's placement in the urban context of the Flaminio neighborhood is unfortunate; a building of this drama needs room to spread out into the landscape, for it is definitively a non-contextual design.