Exterior Architecture / Hospitality/Commercial Design / Contemporary Stone & Tile Design Magazine

Richard Meier project is honored in Italy

June 23, 2010
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
Designed by Richard Meier & Partners, LLC, the Museo dell’Ara Pacis in Rome, Italy, was recently acknowledged with a Marble Architectural Award for its outstanding use of stone. The facility makes extensive use of Roman travertine, which was quarried and processed by Mariotti Carlo & Figli of Tivoli, Italy.


Located on the banks of the Tiber River in Rome, Italy, the Museo dell’Ara Pacis was designed as a renewed setting for the Ara Pacis (Altar of Peace), a sacrificial altar dating to 9 B.C. Several years ago, it was decided that the facility housing the altar was not properly equipped to ensure its long-term conservation and that a new museum complex needed to be built in accordance with the most up-to-date conservation criteria. The resulting museum space, which was designed by Richard Meier & Partners, LLP, utilizes Roman travertine as a primary building element.

Recently, the design of the Museo dell’Ara Pacis was honored with a special mention as part of the 25th Marble Architectural Awards (MAA), which were presented at the CarraraMarmotec event in Carrara, Italy. Although the MAA typically focuses on a specific region, the “silver edition” of the program opened the competition to include projects completed anywhere in the world with any marble, granite or other stone materials from anywhere and processed anywhere across the globe.

For Meier, the use of Roman travertine at the Museo dell’Ara Pacis was a return to the material he specified for the world-renowned J. Paul Getty Center in Los Angeles. The architect was personally involved in devising the “guillotines” that are used to split the material and give the stone its unique appearance.

The MAA panel of judges included Fulvio Irace, lecturer at Milan Polytechnic and architecture critic, Flaviano Maria Lorusso, lecturer at the architecture faculty in Florence and Andreina Guerrieri, director of the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade. In honoring the project, the panel cited the project’s use of travertine, which “made it akin” to Meier’s renowned design of the J. Paul Getty Center in Los Angeles.

“Planned as part of an effort to protect Rome’s cultural legacy, the new structure replaces the monument’s previous enclosure, which was in a state of advanced decay,” reads a statement from Richard Meier & Partners. “The structure consists of a long single-story glazed loggia elevated above a shallow podium providing a transparent barrier between the embankment of the Tiber and the existing circular perimeter of the mausoleum of Augustus, built circa 28 B.C.

“The altar was relocated from the Campo Marzio in 1938 during the Mussolini era, and a system of regulating lines was applied to the project to relate the altar’s present position to its original site,” the statement continues. “Bisecting the distance between the present center of the mausoleum and the original site yielded a four-square urban grid that was used as a proportional frame to reorganize the piazza and its surroundings. An artificial obelisk is used as a historical reference on the north-south axis through the altar. The clarity of the volumes and the building’s proportions relate in scale to Rome’s ancient structures. A predominating feature of the new building is a glass curtain wall measuring 150 feet long and 40 feet high.”

The travertine was used for a range of applications throughout the museum.

Use of stone

From the very beginning, the design of the Museo dell’Ara Pacis was to include premium building products, including natural stone. “The design of the new museum is of the highest quality, as are the first-class materials that were used to build it,” according to a statement released by the museum. “The materials were chosen with a view to integrating the building with its surroundings: the travertine gives continuity in the color scheme, the plaster and glass, which create a two-way transition between the interior and exterior and give a contemporary effect of volume and transparency, simultaneously full and empty.”

The travertine was quarried and processed by Mariotti Carlo & Figli of Tivoli, Italy, which also supplied the material used for the Getty Center. In fact, Meier was personally involved in devising the “guillotines” that are used to split the material and give the stone its unique appearance. “It has been worked in a ‘cracked’ fashion, which - in conjunction with the characteristics of the stone itself - make it a unique material,” according to the museum’s statement. “The technique that produced it was honed by Meier himself.”

The travertine not only fits in with the overall design goals, but it also provides a connection between different spaces and between the museum and the natural surrounding environment. “Outside the main structure, a low travertine wall extending from within the main hall traces the ancient shore of the Tiber River,” reads a statement from Richard Meier & Partners. The stone wall continues into the museum and serves as a backdrop for works such as modern plaster casts of Julio-Claudian Roman portraits.

In addition to housing and protecting the Ara Pacis, the facility also hosts temporary exhibitions and installations dedicated to archaeological themes and a state-of-the-art digital library of Augustan culture. The building also features an outdoor roof terrace that includes a bar and café with views over the Mausoleum of Augustus to the east and the Tiber River to the west.

The building work for the project was awarded to the Marie Engineering of Italy, and it was overseen by the local Municipal Administration, the Government Office of Cultural Assets and the Office of the Historic City.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Stone World 

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

November 2014 Stone Products Gallery

Check out the November Stone World image gallery!

Stone World Magazine

Stone World October 2014 cover

2014 October

Featured on the cover of this issue is the Colorado Yule quarry in Marble, CO, which was recently purchased by Italian stone producer, R.E.D. Graniti.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Contemporary Stone & Tile Design Magazine

CSTD Fall 2014 cover

2014 Fall

In this issue of Contemporary Stone & Tile Design, we take a look at the latest developments in TPT, with a feature article and you can read more comments from Waldrep on this subject as well as other industry professionals.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

STONE STANDARD

Are you aware of the new stone standard – ANSI/NSC 373 Sustainability Assessment for Natural Dimension Stone?
View Results Poll Archive

The Stone World Store

How_To_Polish_&_Restore_Mar.gif
How to Polish & Restore Marble Flooring

This video will show you step-by-step how to resurface and polish marble flooring from grinding and removing lippage and scratches to achieving a highly reflective polish.

More Products

Stone Industry Education

Stone Industry Education

From fabrication...to installation...to marketing and much more!  We provide natural stone professionals with stone knowledge and education they can count on, as well as great networking opportunities. Click here to go to Stone Industry Education.

STAY CONNECTED

facebook logo Twitter  YouTubeGoogle+

Vertical Sector Focus: Critical Infrastructures

criticalhomepagethumbFrom terrorism to vandalism, it’s preparedness, response, training and partnerships. Learn about some of the critical security issues facing this sector.

Visit the Critical Infrastructure page to read more.