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GENIUS LOCI – Museo del Colosseo


The thesis project sites in the Valle del Colosseo, the very center of Roma, where lies the most iconic and important archeological monument of Roma: the Colosseum. The crytical approach to this unique context is the same of Gian Battista Piranesi in his Iconographia Campi Martii: the rendering of the dissecta membra, fragments and lost monuments of the Forma Urbis Romae is met via a scrupulous research, craft and imagination: the result is a plan that renders a possible Antica Roma now, as a project for the past – as the latter, paraphrasing W. Benjamin, is the sole source of available opportunities for inhabiting the present.

In the site dwell memories of a latent past whose echo still calls out and interrogates the present: memories are not an irrecuperable source, but a living, pulsing material that makes the present accessible hic et nunc. Roma is a unique landscape where different times, historic experiences and memories coehixist and shape the space mold of the city. These active cultural sources are now fractured in a mosaic of isolated fragments: in this scenario a solution can be suggested with architecture, as space is the place where it’s possible to to access, unlock , activate and make public these assets. The purpose of the project is to ricompose these fragments in a new urban landscape capable of reactivating the latent memories of the site, not only to improve the cultural offer of the Archeological Park of the Colosseum, but also, tracing back in the past latent opportunities, providing a more enhanced experience of the present. The borders of the basin where the Amphitheater lays are an altimetric gap between the monument and the contemporary city: the two are sewed together with pavillions that provide physical connection, public space, cultural and urban features, enclousure to the urban episodes and restore lost memories of the site, such as archeological relics, historical axis, spacial experiences, optical connections, ecc. The Caelian hill, overlooking the Colosseum, is a treasure of archeological, architectonic and naturalistic richness. The project aims to enhance and

exploit its unique landscape and foundings via the construction of a network of semi-hypogean pedestrial pathways – referring to the geological phenomenon named forre, natural trenches engraved in the environment, where architect P. Portoghesi hypothesized lies the genius loci of the roman spatial mold. restoring the lost archeological layer leaving the naturalistic surface unscathed. By reactivating and connecting archeological spaces and fragments to the contemporary city, the project synthetise a new enviroment where fragments of different timelines, expressions and possibilities are reunited as a crossroad connecting memories and temporal layers, creating a new space for inhabiting the present. The priceless collection of roman and medieval artifacts and sediments are used as construction material for the pathways, rendering the whole new urban landscape of the Caelian a massive antiquarium en plain air, diluted in the fabric of the public pathways itself – exactly as Rome is. Hence the concept of museum is deposed: the are displayed along the pathways - on the very walls and pavement - and the exhibition halls are hypogean pavillions embedded in the enviroment, connected to the Caelian public pathways, promoting active knowledge and culture production, by contamination of museographic sets with inhabiting features.

The Board:
GENIUS LOCI – Museo del Colosseo Board


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