How does the idea of new large-scale architecture fit Rome’s proportion? At first glance, Rome’s large-scale buildings appear chaotically built on foundations of former grandeur, perpetually in relationship to the remains of antique structures and the palimpsest of a contradictory past. A more heterogeneous image appears in a larger context, composed of a city of many pasts and faces. Big architecture and large projects emerge as a collection of internally coherent, but territorially delineated islands.
Through this perspective, the present work aims to offer a different approach in dealing with a large scale in the Roman context. Furthermore, by drawing on elements of architectural and urban large-scale buildings, as well as the history of modern Rome as a repository of projects and themes, a design approach is developed from which three projects originated.
The thesis emphasises ideas of the second half of the 20th century, in which large-scale architecture and urbanism particularly evolved out of social necessity. Considering urban as well as physical conditions consolidated in recent history, it focuses on the parasitic character in the appropriation of large buildings as well as vacant and unfinished structures as a crucial feature of Roman bigness. This hypothesis in mind – grounded in the social responsibility of architectural and urban design practice – a new bigness is proposed through recomposing basic architectural forms, large-scale theories, and informal practices.
The designs represent new islands in the sea of the Roman palimpsest and become part of the large-scale archipelago of Rome. In doing so, the projects present an exemplary antithesis to prevailing conditions. As rebel islands, they reveal an architectural hypothesis of the city that combines basic formal elements and basic features of parasitic practice to create laboratories of alternative housing and urban models.