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Villa Fantozzi

Part 2 Project 2001
Jakob Tigges
Technische Universitat Berlin Berlin Germany
The historical centre of Rome is charged with connotations for Romans and non-Romans alike, whereas the outskirts, which subsume the majority of Rome’s surface area and inhabitants, suffer from a lack of any tangible identity; and this despite a range of unmistakable architectural and urban characteristics.

The ‘Sopraelevata‘ is an odd infrastructural fragment of a traffic concept which relates to the entire city, but as such only an improvisation, a temporary arrangement, with a considerable influence on the appearance and the quality of life for the inhabitants of the surrounding area. Thanks to its distinctive design the hated structure remains instantly recognisable.

Its human equivalent is the bookkeeper ‘Fantozzi‘: oppressed by his powerful employer, pestered by his colleagues, plagued with an ugly wife and a moronic daughter - he is the quintessential looser. Fantozzi lives at the ‘Sopraelevata‘.

One day their relationship is suddenly changed.

The associative experience of an entire area is influenced by the pragmatic reinterpretation of a ‘characteristic’ urban structure. The effect, of what is essentially minimal architectural intervention, would perhaps be strong enough to create a symbol able to bring the list of features which define Rome’s identity right up to date.

Jakob Tigges


‘Villa Fantozzi‘ combines attitudes towards architecture - of Aldo Rossi and Rem Koolhaas – which until now seemed irreconcilable.

The ‘Sopraelevata‘ in Rome is understood as contemporary relict, comparable to the Aqueduct Dell’Acqua Felice. Its reinterpretation serves as starting point to redefine public space adapted to modern life and the everyday experience of this city. Rather than criticising it tries to exploit its socio-cultural reality in order to create new relations between the various fragments in this problematic part of Rome. Programmatic interventions limited to a few principle decisions and modest architectural projects demontstrate the structure’s integration in the cityscape. The merit of the work lies in the fact that Tigges succeeds in developing a convincing strategy, without becoming depressed and realistic, nor euphoric and bombastic. His proposals are intelligent and subtle examples of interventions, that stretch reality just beyond realization, thus triggering hope, expectation and inspiration, an attitude that is just right for these kind of “waiting lands”. Villa Fantozzi shows a range of innovative strategic and architectural concepts which are extraordinary and convincing. The personal approach and evocative visualization render ‘Villa Fantozzi‘ truly poetic.

The work has been given the maximum note (Cum Laude) and the ‘Architekturpreis‘ of our university. Moreover it was awarded the best diploma project in German-speaking countries by the magazine Arch+.

2001
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