Contemporary Arts Building:
Tiber Island, Rome
The Tiber Island site was chosen primarily for its relationship to Treastevere, the artisan quarter across the river from central Rome and the ancient Theatre of Marcellus within the historical core. Although the Island was strategically important in the urban development of Rome, it has little significance within the city today. At one time it was a thriving locality with mills inhabiting its edges and jettying out into the Tiber. This century the river’s edge was lined with a stone embankment to keep the river at bay and it is now no longer inhabited and the Island sits separated and isolated from the city. This project proposes a re-inhabitation of the Island’s South eastern edge through a centre for the Contemporary Arts.
The building is entered from the existing “Piazza Del Foro Della Pace” and, on entering, there are views down into the main gallery and exhibition spaces adjacent to a church and down to the river. Spatially, the composition is anchored around a central wall, the depth of a room, placed down the existing edge of the Island.
Two different conditions are created either side of the wall. To the south is a cantilever over the river and to the north the entrance ledge and main gallery are placed directly on the natural rock island. At the western head of the building, a café is wrapped around the spine wall to provide views of the piazza and the river.
Integrated within the spine wall are all the building services. It is also the main structural component of the whole building (actual and visual) and is inhabited by video rooms, offices, staircases and a sculpture gallery. Holes punctured through the wall allow light to penetrate its gallery and circulation spaces. Its ends culminate in staircases, am internal dog-leg stair to the west and long tapering staircase which tapers downstream, like the rock of the island, into the Tiber itself.