The Via Giulia was built in Renaissance Rome to dissect the Medieval space and impose a sense of order on the city. When Mussolini demolished historic buildings to make way for his planned boulevard from the Ponte Mazzini to the Corso Vittorio Emanuele in the 1930s, he destroyed the unity of the street. The failure of this major project by his fascistic government left a vacant plot of land at the height of the Piazza della Moretta that stood empty for seventy years.
Today, the architectural aim is to revoke the Renaissance profile of the streetscape, while the vacant lot itself is to be converted into an underground parking structure. Archaeological digs on the site unearthed the remains of Roman stables. The fully documented existing archaeological site will once again be covered with no more than a protective layer of earth. Only within the triangular section without archaeological remnants will construction projects be permitted.
Instead of rebuilding the demolished buildings, Diener&Diener decided to make the garden its guiding principle in reconstructing the street profile. Neither buildings in a classical nor in a modern style could have restored the former unity to the Via Giulia. It would merely have worked towards eliminating all remaining traces of the street’s urban history. However, the concept of the garden works to underscore historical continuity: where the plans with fascist origin overlaid the Renaissance city, a garden now overlays these plans. A high wall runs parallel to the houses of the street façade. In one place the wall opens onto the Via Giulia. It frames and fixes the experience of the newly captured streetscape without neglecting and suppressing the wounds that were inflicted here in the 1930s.
Competition: 1st prize, 2010
Client: C.A.M. srl
Location: Via Giulia, Rome, Italy
Gross Floor Area (GFA): 6.500 m²
Use / Function: Public garden, cafè
Collaboartion / Local Architect: Garofalo Miura Architetti
Landscape Architect: Vogt Landschaftsarchitekten