Section: Implementation actions
Planner: Arch. Barbara Nazzaro
The entire archaeological compound of the House of Augusto has been enclosed in a case consisting of a green covering that helps camouflage a lower case made of eyelet-textured Corten steel walls, altemate walls and methacrylate plates.
The Emperor Ottaviano Augusto built his abode on the Palatino Hill in 36 B.C.
Archaeological excavations by Gianfilippo Carettoni over the past century had been bringing to light rooms decorated with stuccos and frescos, which are some of the finest examples of the I century B. C. Roman pictorial art.
In 2014, on the occasion of the Second Millennium of the Emperor’s death, a considerable number of sections of the domus were opened to the public.
Carettoni’s project included metal flat and corrugated coverings, which had to be substituted for reasons of decorum, restoring the original continuity between the rooms of the abode. In order to opt for the fittest solution, macro- and micro- air flows had been tested by a fluid-dynamics simulation. Other evaluations regarding tuff blocks of vertical structures responsible for the widespread ceiling collapse had been conducted, and results did not recommend the restoration of original volumes.
The entire operation aims at the visual improvement of the surrounding areas, pursing a greater landscape integration, the restoration of paintings and the starting of educational tours hopefully enabling the numerous decoration patterns of the site to be enjoyed by the public.
The project is meant to be inspirational: the roof of the extrados is composed of a layer of vegetation with archaeological structures emerging on the surface and a section left with bare earth to recall Carettoni’s early excavation stage. Since the new roofs and coverings had to enter an already heterogeneous context full of appreciable visual elements, the Company opted for a mixed-technology solution, where steel bearing structures, pultruded profiles and sandwich panels vanished against the dark PVC of the heat-stretched false ceiling of the intrados.
Said choices were taken according to other logistic and repair requirements for the preservation of the site, such as lightness, transportability and low installation time typical of compound materials.
Moreover, the external finish involves a section of green roof of vegetation not suffering climate changes, which will protect and provide thermally insulation to the abode avoiding overheating. The work has been carried out using different layers of gravel and a cretonato mixture of lapillus and pozzolana, useful to drain and slow down rainwater run-off.
The surrounding case was made of alternated solid and eyelet-textured plates of Corten steel, marking the difference between the ancient and the new by using a reversible material –contrasting with the archaeological consistency–, colours and shades of which represent the tangible evidence of its aging. Metal became the leitmotiv of the project because of its workability, moulding shapes in accordance with ancient elements interacting with natural light thanks to beams phasing the eyelet-texture of panels.
Stone remains near the back prospectus had been integrated with a 3D metal contour useful to facilitate the reading of the compound architectures. Corten structures were bent close to the corner as a belt extending up to the main entrance. Such fil rouge surrounding the whole place traces the limit between the building and the upper roof garden. Under the belt, metal plates alternated with transparent methacrylate panels were installed slightly backwards in order to create shadows varying in accordance with eyelets thinning out the higher it goes.
Inside the building, even bearing pillars are covered with Corten.
The suspended walkway was thought to facilitate the comprehension of spaces and representative rooms of the private western section of the abode: a metal and wooden ramp marked with Corten thresholds indicating the limit of each room crosses the whole area.
The light project involves plays of shadows due to the varying position of light sources and intensity, producing a sort of visual hierarchy distinguishing various chromatic peculiarities between the private domus and the public one, in accordance with their different value.
The innovative Light System with a multiple grouped LED technology headlamps is controlled by a software regulating the colour temperature and designed to vanish between the roof of the intrados and the PVC heat-stretched sheet of the false ceiling.