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Aurelian Walls integrated Park in Rome: the stretch-away Metronia door to Numidia street


Designer: Arch. Tonino Terranova, Arch. Paola Falini, Arch. Gennaro Farina (Project Office as director of the Historical Town)

Location: Appio-Latino, Rome

Client: City of Rome

Area: about 20000mq

Year: 2007-2009

Photo: Francesco Tonini

What do we think: good design with functional gaps


Although for some months we have tried to avoid a review of certain projects undertaken in recent years, is now the time to talk about it. The reason why we have focused more often on projects linked to a lack of vigilance on the outskirts of watchful eyes, is to be found in the extreme to advertise certain services for the mass media coverage due to pre-existing features, to which therefore did not feel the need to add our opinion. Among these is the redevelopment of the section of the Aurelian walls between Metronia door and Numidia street, a kind of linear park opened in 2009 by Mayor Alemanno, but included in the works to be carried out already for a decade under the juntas left who compiled the PRG (Plan regulation general of Rome) and that their intervention in the much broader "Setting the strategic planning Aurelian Walls." Seeing the PRG and its areas of strategic planning, given a certain stagnation that seems to always lie down on the eternal city, I always thought that springs from pure imagination of some visionary architect. Moreover, without dragging in the Field of Strategic Planning of the Tiber, just think of the thousands of projects produced on the river in the capital of which has not seen a penny realized that, indeed, the dime easier. Instead, to our surprise, the areas of programming are being transformed into implementation projects in a reasonable time, and the driving force that makes a reality of this enormous potential is certainly linked to the fact that strategic planning is proving to be an easy implementation, rideable from politics to achieve results in areas of high public interest.

However, once completed, the scope of programming of the walls should ensure continuous 18 km of linear parks and bicycle paths in order to highlight the historical value of this structure, which has played a very important stage in the ancient imperial Rome. In this southern area, the first section in question between the square and street Metronio- Numidia should be followed by next stretch of road and port Numidia -Latina, and the walls between the most expensive in Latina and the Porta San Paolo. We come to the area covered by the article and leave out the historical information immediately on the walls, you can find plenty on the web. The stroke, technically known as "park", consists of an area that follows the curve of the walls moderate premises on the south-east-north-west. Width of about forty meters long and less than five hundred, then the area is contained between the buildings and the walls of Metronio avenue. Given the planimetric form and intention of the program, space is a set of paths side by side, dedicated to pedestrians and bicycles, which have stolen space to the roadway, now concentrated on the buildings along with parking plug dedicated to the residents.

The paths are well defined, because of the materials, which are stabilized earth and gray flooring for walkways, a sort of clear, cold asphalt for the path, and gravel for the area of ​​separation between parking and pedestrian area, and inland of distinct forms, namely path nervous at sharp corners in the driveway stabilized earth and soft curves to the path. To help make it not boring transit pedestrian walkways in concrete slabs are honed crossed by changes in flooring, which sometimes seems to try to mingle with the earth stabilized through geometric forms visible, and sometimes hosts strips of pavement in basalt which jut out sharply to the walls, affecting even the green area of ​​archaeological respect. Travertino stone instead, try to embellish the central pedestrian street marking the border with rhythmic signals that are evident at times in the pavement, sometimes in baskets, sometimes fountains. Travertine is also a constituent material of most of the benches, which were, however, assisted by the most common cast iron and wood benches, some already being targeted by vandals. The decor, coordinated and convincing, is complemented by lovely lamps and light-path signals in dark gray metal. The vegetation is rather simple but very well distributed. Existing trees to consist mainly of pines, plane trees, maples and elms Americans were joined by two recurring themes, that of the lawn, freeing up view of the walls, and hedges that of Olive, as contained in the seventy centimeters with the sole purpose better manage the division of paths and parking areas.

Overall, the project is well-structured. The objective of achieving order and cleanliness of signs that adorn the historic tourist attraction of the walls we believe has been achieved. The paths are nice and far from boring, aesthetically elegant and cheered by the diversion point as fountains and beautiful lamps. We add, however, four negative criticism, two raised by people interviewed on the spot and two arising from the knowledge of our profession. The people we have entertained us to talk about common complaints presented to those found in other public areas: the lack of a space dedicated to children's play and the lack of a space dedicated to the needs and outbursts of dogs. We understand very well that the designer has complied with the character of the area, namely its susceptibility to transit tourist, cultural, recreational, sports or just passing through, but the needs of the population can not change depending on where you are: a child will always want to play, a dog will always need to poop. Of course you can always appeal to the education of owners, but then it should appeal to drinkers who stop often with crowds and donations of bottles and trash, the vandals who smash the bench and write on the walls .... In short space should be designed taking forever account at least common sense.

The two critical that we do have a kind of aesthetic and one technical. Aesthetically this realization, like others that we reviewed in which there was near significant historical artifacts, tends to favor a minimalist operation in an attempt to leave "space" to history, but neglects the color of sin, however, strong design presence. In other words, the designer does not use the color of vegetation, but to make up for the car tax to keep a low profile, his ego is unleashed in games that still attract attention. Again, we like this project, but if it had been placed in some fountain in favor of some less colorful flower bed, we would have liked more, though it should have been at risk of bankruptcy because of the traditional maintenance of dingy offices engaged in gardens Rome. It is clear that a little 'color can not steal attention from a massive high wall about ten meters. The last criticism is the fact that this stretch is made to the most hidden and will not be realized until the other traits resulting in the commissioning of pathways integrated circuit will be isolated and not very useful. Finally, we believe that this project will raise the bar of the average quality of public spaces in the capital. Unfortunately, to achieve perfection, we are sure that there is still much work to do.

Francesco Tonini for


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