Caruso St John Architects

1999
Location: Rome, IT
Client: Centro per le Arti Contemporanee, Roma
Project Status: Competition, finalist

The competition for the Centre for Contemporary Arts asked for the image of an institution that had not previously existed in the city. The building was to function not only as an art gallery but also as an architecture museum, academic resource, experimental installation space and performance centre. The proposal can be understood as a constellation of these programmatic components, which avoids a hierarchical organisation in favour of a loose balancing of forces.

The project is located on the site of a former car factory and military barracks in the Flaminio district, and the existing structures on the site already provide a coherent and varied spatial structure. Through strategic demolition and new construction, these are augmented and mediated by new spatial experiences. This project is not interested in making the choice between conservation and new construction. Like the city of Rome, the Centre achieves its identity through inconsistency, ambiguity and juxtaposition. New buildings are placed beside and around existing ones, producing a diversity of experience that is unimaginable within a singular, new structure.