Città del Sole by Labics

Città del Sole by Labics

Città del Sole by Labics






Roma, Italia



Maria Claudia Clemente and Francesco Isidori, founders of Labics, make a profound analysis of this project born from the winning of a competition announced by the Municipality of Rome in 2007

Città del Sole by Labics, 2007-2016, Rome

Can you tell us about the Città del Sole project?

This project was the winner of a design competition organised by the Municipality of Rome in 2007 and consists of the urban renovation of an area previously occupied by a warehouse and the remittance of ATAC, the municipal public transport company. The site on which the intervention is located is of considerable interest since it is located on the outskirts of the urban zone of the city that was consolidated in the early twentieth century, some important road infrastructures, such as the East ring road, Via Tiburtina and the monumental Verano cemetery. The context, the nerve centre of the city, has been the subject of recent important transformations including the construction of the new Tiburtina station and the headquarters of the BNL.
The project as a whole has represented an important opportunity to redevelop the fabric of the city through an increase in the morphological quality and the inclusion of strategic functions for the surrounding area that will be able to generate a new centrality of the neighbourhood.

Città del Sole by Labics, 2007-2016, Rome

Compared to this scenario, the project has set itself the double objective of, on the one hand, building a place with its own identity, and on the other, confirming the character of the site as a transit space and access to the historic city. Central to the satisfaction of both objectives is the enhancement of the void and of the public space as the main structure of the project.

The intervention is therefore structured starting from the design of a porous and traversable material that springs from the directions and flows of the city. For this reason, the open space is never residual but on the contrary it is the structure around which the volumes constructed in a complementary alternation of full and empty spaces that are integrated on several levels. As in the neighbouring fabric of the Tiburtino II designed by Guidi and Sabatini at the beginning of the last century, the outer space acquires complexity and richness, beckons to be travelled, discovered, to allow us to find in it the expression of collective values ​​but also the richness of individual paths.

In the “Città del Sole” City of the Sun”, the central square placed in line with the access to the Tiburtino II represents the main junction point of the entire intervention. An open space that targets the Verano complex and from which it is possible to access all the other public places of the complex, including the two large terraces located in the coverage of the two base bodies that give back to the city, or to public use, the space occupied by the ‘footprint of buildings. Città del Sole is an intervention with a minimal footprint.

Città del Sole by Labics, 2007-2016, Rome

From a programmatic point of view, the project provides a clear organisation of commercial, directional and residential functions. The basement system, consisting of two buildings, both on two levels, houses on the ground floor small commercial spaces, on the first floor, directional spaces. A second type of directional space is housed in the bridge building – articulated on two levels – which overlooks the first of the two blocks of the basement.

Finally, the residential spaces are distributed over two buildings suspended above the basement: the urban villas, located in the central part of Via Arduino, are developed on two levels destined to house duplex apartments; the tall houses, located at the head of the block, towards Villa Narducci and Tiburtina Station, which is spread over nine levels intended to accommodate simplex accommodations.

Città del Sole by Labics, 2007-2016, Rome

In your presentation of this project it is possible to read “cities should be built around systems rather than as a series of objects”. Could you further explain this concept to us?

In the last twenty years most of the successful architecture has stood out for its iconic ability and the exasperated search for formal novelty. A trend that coincided with the important economic expansion of the Western world, thus becoming in some way the emblem. This spectacular architecture, with so little “sense” in our eyes, and so uncaring of the relationship between the city and the collective space, never interested us, we never understood the reasons. It has always seemed egocentric and somehow unnecessarily blatant.

From this youthful indifference the research on the structure was conceived, the will to understand the formative mechanisms of the project, the desire to regain possession of the discipline, to research its foundations. When we talk about systems that oppose singular objects, we in fact refer to the ancient city, to the Renaissance, where architecture and urban design are part of the same system in an inseparable unity. Unfortunately, this unity broke with the Modern Movement when, in an anti-urban logic, the architecture and the project of the city became separated.

Here, we are interested in recovering the relationship between architecture and city as it happened in pre-modern times; we are interested in the Nolli plant, the dense and complex fabric of Baroque Rome; in short we are interested in those cities whose skeleton is represented by empty space, by public space.

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