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Rome Urban Space Station

Part 1 Project 2001
Neil Jarvis
Leeds Beckett University Leeds UK
Student Youth Hostel & Architecture Centre

The key aims of the project were to create a highly contextual and largely autonomous piece of architecture with the term ‘Urban Space Station’ open to interpretation. The canvas for which a heavily constrained, sensitive site in central Rome.

As a centre for modern architecture, the Urban Space Station is, itself, an exhibit. Massing, materials and form support and express the building's physical and spiritual relationship to its program and to its local and global context.

Treating the brief as a series of interrelated components, and taking cues from the immediate context the built form was developed upon a dialogue between the urban grid, laid down by the buttresses of an existing building at the front of the site, and a series of curves determined by the building's autonomous technology.

The complex is arranged with public spaces on the lower levels and private ones above. Solar hot water panels line the roofs. This meets much of the hot water and heating demand. Grey water is collected via a central pool at ground level which forms a focal point for the public spaces. This is on an axis with an observation tower which gives the centre a clear identity on the main street whilst respecting the symmetry of the existing building.

The building attempts to achieve a strong sense of place by abstracting typical elements of Roman urban space. The multi-layered central outdoor space contains variations in intimacy from the ‘cloister’ like space around the pool to the dramatic curves of the studio above, reminiscent of the grandeur of the city’s wealth of historic monuments. Roof lit areas of the studio and exhibition spaces possess something of the ambience of Rome’s web of narrow streets.

Neil Jarvis


Neil seemed to begin the year determined to acquire any knowledge or skill which examiners might reasonably seek, or future employers reasonably expect. He studied far beyond the curriculum. Where the syllabus sought the study of one of several options, Neil covered them all. He has an immense capacity for self-directed independent study and is very self-disciplined.

His involvement, during group-work-projects, ensures that the project is finished to a high standard. He is very reliable.
He seems to approach any problem by formulating an overall strategy as to how success can best be achieved and failure prevented. In the case of design-project -work, his analyses of the site and brief are remarkably thorough and observant, and form a sound basis for imaginative future work.
He has a sound sense of priorities and a good perspective on life.

His Comprehensive Design Project was an Urban Space Station for Rome: (a residential architecture centre, with bookshop, café and exhibition space, (a project designed to encourage the investigation of the idea of autonomy in architecture.))

His design-project-work is inventive, elegant, sensitive, individual, demonstrates a thorough integration of technical and environmental concerns, and is systematically and beautifully presented.

2001
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