Piano and Fuksas: Transcending the Boundaries of Architecture in Rome

Keenan, Annabel

Emory University, Georgia, US

     The urban identity of Rome is a complex amalgamation of a series of historical aesthetics in which modern architects, those currently working and not necessarily concerned with the ideals of Modernism, struggle to gracefully intervene. Rather than impose modern aesthetics into the historical setting, architects must work with and around the limitations of their own field. In the years since 1945, these boundaries have been expanded into the spheres of sculpture and painting. This innovation is strengthened with the concepts of formlessness and un-volumetric architecture. In such cases, buildings become social tools that create psychological and physical relations and thus surpass the traditional constraints of built environment. Two such buildings in Rome are Renzo Piano’s Auditorium (2002) and Massimiliano Fuksas’ Congress Center (2011). Their designs manipulate space, energy, and visual comprehension to devolve the physical quality of architecture and create a new undefined space separate from the historic area. Through a study of these buildings, supplemented by an exploration of The Blur Building (2002) in Switzerland, this essay seeks to exhibit the way in which formlessness and un-volumetric architecture can be used to integrate historic and contemporary architecture in Rome.