Beginning from a critical observation of the monumental Trajan’s Column, the architectural and urban workshop 'Columna, from Object to City' will be devoted to study and developing design solutions for one of the most significant areas in Rome: Trajan’s Forum and Trajan’s Markets.
Trajan’s Column describes, with an unfolding ribbon of bas-reliefs, Trajan’s campaign in Dacia. The column is today perceived as an object in space, but it was originally surrounded by two libraries and it was part of, and embedded within, a complex program of buildings which formed the Forum of Trajan. For centuries, Trajan’s Column, and its surrounding context, inspired and generated some of the most important urban designs which are part of Rome’s history.
Indeed, this important site, located in the center of the city, has been subject to major urban transformations carried out by emperors, popes and, in more recent times, by the urban planners of the Fascist regime.
Students will be divided into groups. Each working group will conduct a series of analyses of the urban and architectural context within and around Trajan’s Forum and Markets, in order to understand its historical stratification and develop a project proposal to be produced within the collective work of the group.
Particular attention will be devoted to the role of this important historical area within the broader context of the city.
The project proposals will aim at providing design solutions to the following topics:
- Understand and reveal the site’s historical transformations;
- Address the role of the site at metropolitan scale through the proposals of a sustainable pattern of circulation;
- Give accessibility and continuity to the immediate urban context, providing accesses and means of circulation within the site;
- Assign specific programmatic roles to the different areas within and around the site;
- Research and analyze projects which may represent significant precedents, and more specifically precedents on Architecture and Archaeology;
- Identify possible and structural and technological solutions for building on archaeological sites;
- Generate schematic design proposals for the area, developed in two-dimensional and three dimensional drawings and models.
The workshop will be held in collaboration with:
The site is located in Rome’s historical center next to the parliament building, and the program called for a four story building with 350 parking spaces, and a restaurant on the top floor that is open to the public. The site and program for the workshop encouraged students to create a contemporary architecture in a historical context. The site was the same as that used for one of Rome’s most important modern design competitions which took place in 1967.
Students, professors and firms participating in the workshop had the opportunity to hear 2 lectures. The first lecture was by Sandro Anselmi, a participant in the original 1967 competition. Anselmi discussed his approach to the project and the importance of number, geometry, proportion, and historical context in his proposal. The second lecture was by Francesco Cellini, the Dean of Architecture at Roma Tre University, and it was entitled Design and Context. In his lecture, Cellini presented several examples of his own work from various competitions he had entered. Through these projects, students could clearly see how a design can be modern, yet respect and honor the history of a site.
Students faced several challenges throughout the week. Some of these challenges included language barriers, difference in work style, cultural differences, and a short period in which to design. Most students felt the week was long and very stressful, but at the end of the workshop they were pleased with the product, felt they learned a lot, and were challenged as designers.
The workshop concluded on October 31st, 2009 with presentations of each groups' design proposal and a brief jury review. The jury included members of the faculty from the UARC, Roma Tre University, and the University of Waterloo. University of Arkansas students presented their work again the following week to the Dean, Jeff Shannon, from the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas.
By Megan Francis