MERCATI GENERALI, ITALY, ROME, 2008
|Redevelopment of a formal industrial area of Ostiense in Rome|
By OMA © All rights reserved
OMA proposes to redevelop a well known traditional Italian market
place, the Mercati Generali, into a modern civic and entertainment
centre. In doing so OMA translates the contemporary shopping mall
and supermarket phenomenon, both of which have come to threaten the
very existence of a way of life that has defined Italian culture
for centuries: street market shopping.
The project is located on the outskirts of Central Rome in a strategic position between Via Ostiense and the Garbatella district. Several of the buildings on the site date back to ancient Rome. Unfortunately, however, these structures have remained, for at least their recent history, disheveled and underutilized - solemn figments of past glories.
Traditional market-huts are to be transformed into free standing shops or "pavilions" while staggered and roof terraces produce a three dimensional topography, dramatising the unique sights and sounds of the site. The green streetscape and cafés inserted between the old structures can further add to a street atmosphere.
Transforming this section of Rome into a live performance area is carried out with commercial and cultural elements of a central cinema, capable of hosting international events, such as the Roman film festival, as well as a theatre for 3,000 people, art galleries, sport and recreational areas.
Five new main entrances, located alongside main arterial roadways, suggest a greater interaction between the different districts the market borders whilst aiding movement between the different programs within the complex.
The Mercati Generali site is located on the Via Ostiense, a former industrial area in close proximity to the historical sites of ancient Rome. Formerly occupied by market halls and utility buildings from the early 1900's, the new design envisages a combination of public space and large-scale commerical, leisure and cultural facilities.
The strategy for the redevelopment of the Mercati Generali proposes a balance of uses that closely resemble an emergent method for the rehabilitation and reprogramming of disused structures. Whereas historically public space flourished around squares and streets linked to religious or civic buildings or landmarks, today's cities relay increasingly on the private sector to propagate the city pulse, especially through retail and leisure.
The present convergence of urbanity and commercial mega-structures questions the status of public space today. Where the later outgrows its envelope and overflows into the city as an independent instrument of urbanity, or where cities instigate regeneration resorting to commercial strategies. The redevelopment of the Mercati Generali offers the opportunity to define a balance between the two. The task to intervene on the grounds of the Ex-Mercati Generali in Rome offers the opportunity to explore the status of public space in the contemporary European metropolis.
The Mercati Generali site on the Via Ostiense is a peculiar location in the fringe of the familiar Rome, only a few blocks from the ancient city walls. This central, yet edge location, offers a proximity that eases building inside Rome, with the apparent luster of being outside the Rome. The strategic location, historical importance, urban presence and shear scale of the Mercati Generali should be exploited to spearhead the redevelopment of the complete neighborhood.
Working with a historical site, almost a given in Rome, implies abiding to strict rules of intervention that are heavily prescriptive and severely limit the implantation of the new. In the case of the Mercati Generali the task becomes more so challenging given its relative youth (by Roman standards). Built from the early to mid 1900’s, and its current state of 'limited' decay yet with 'substantial' historical documentation poses the challenge of practicing an industrial archeology of great meticulousness offering minimal leeway.
Rome, Redevelopment of the Mercati Generali Complex
Construction Documentation (competition first prize 2004)
SCO (Sviluppo Centro Ostiense) owned by Lamaro Appalti
87,000 m2 Ex-Mercati Generali Complex, Ostiense Area
250,000m2, commercial, leisure and cultural centre for the redevelopment of formal industrial area of Ostiense in Rome
Alvisi Kirimoto; Massimo Alvisi and Sara Picciali
arch. Moauro, arch. Capocaccia, Rome
Arup - London, Milan; Inge.Co., Rome
Arup Amsterdam (competition only)
Arup London (competition only), Tectra, Rome
Fire / Safety:
ing. Amaro, Turin
DHV Renz van Luxemburg
CA Casamica #1/2 01/06
Il Tempo 20/04/06
L'industria della costruzioni #387 01-02/06
L'Unità Roma 20/04/06