AIA Continental Europe Italian Section Event: Rome I May 2019

By: Royce Lanier, AIA CE Italian Section Director

With a history of more than two thousand years, Rome is an ideal place to examine Sustainable design and Livability issues.  On Saturday 25 May, the Italy Section of AIA/CE held a one-day Event that was packed with Lessons in Sustainability, for which participants earned 8 HSW Learning Units.  But this is Italy, so there was also plenty of social time including a two hour lunch in one of the city’s oldest restaurants, cocktails on a rooftop terrace overlooking the Roman forum and a late dinner at a classic Roman Osteria that specializes in seafood.

The Event was well attended with a total of twenty-one participants.  We were a diverse group - ten Italy Section members including a new International Associate, an AIA/CE Chapter member from Austria, an AIA member from New York, two Europe based Architects from the US military, two sponsors reps. and five guests including three who were from allied design professions.

In the morning we visited the 16th century Villa Farnesina with its marvelous frescos and elegant garden overlooking the Tiber.  The visit included detailed presentations by several of the curators for restoration works at the villa and an examination of  the institutional structure that assures ongoing restoration and maintenance of this important historic property.

Before and after lunch, we explored the largely pedestrianized historic center of Rome. Led by Section member Judith Di Maio, we visited a carefully curated set of buildings and public spaces covering several centuries of Rome’s architectural heritage but seeing them in the context of a functioning modern city.

The program ended with a visit to Palazzo Rhinoceros, the newly completed adaptive reuse project designed by Arch, Jean Nouvel for the Alda Fendi Experimental Arts Foundation.  The project includes the foundation headquarters, a series of galleries and performance spaces that are open 24/7, a rooftop bar and restaurant and twenty-five apartments interspersed with the galleries and operated as an airbnb style ‘hotel’ – creating ‘a place for living with art’.

Photos by Italian Section member Marc Di Dominico.