MERCATI GENERALI, ITALY, ROME, 2008
Redevelopment of a formal industrial area of Ostiense in Rome
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.
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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.
COMPETITION TEXT
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.
FACT SHEET
Project:
Rome, Redevelopment of the Mercati Generali Complex

Status:
Construction Documentation (competition first prize 2004)

Client:
SCO (Sviluppo Centro Ostiense) owned by Lamaro Appalti

Location:
Rome, Italy

Site:
87,000 m2 Ex-Mercati Generali Complex, Ostiense Area

Program:
250,000m2, commercial, leisure and cultural centre for the redevelopment of formal industrial area of Ostiense in Rome


COLLABORATORS
Local architect:
Alvisi Kirimoto; Massimo Alvisi and Sara Picciali

Preservation advisors:

arch. Moauro, arch. Capocaccia, Rome

Structure:

Arup - London, Milan; Inge.Co., Rome

Services:
Arup Amsterdam (competition only)

Traffic:
Arup London (competition only), Tectra, Rome

Fire / Safety:

ing. Amaro, Turin

Landscape:

Inside Outside

Acoustic:

DHV Renz van Luxemburg

Survey:

L'Atlante, Rome

CREDITS

Partners:
Rem Koolhaas, Ellen van Loon

Planning permission and design development:
Marc Paulin (project architect), Adrianne Fisher (project manager), Sara Picciali (local project manager), Sebastian Appl, Mark Balzar, Marc Dahmen, Anita Ernodi, Leo Ferretto, Jonah Gamblin, Carmen Jimenez, Christoh Michael, Tosin Oshinowo, Gustavo Paternina-Soberon, Dirk Peters, João Prates Ruivo, Richard Sharam, Koen Stockbroekx, Olaf Turck, Miguel Valerio, Rodrigo Vila Boas, Allan Weisselberg

Schematic design:
Mauro Parravicini (project architect), Luca Astorri, Christina Beaumont, Andrea Bertassi, Kees van Casteren, Daniele De Benedictis, Maria Derevencova, Claire Destrebecq, Anders Esko-Nielsen, Carlos García González, Stamatis Giannikis, Joana Lima, Ralph van Mameren, Cristina Murphy, Mariano Sagasta, Maurizio Scarciglia, Benoit Schelstraete, Manuel Villanueva, Claudia Wolfsfeld


Competition Phase:
Roberto Otero (Project Architect), Kunle Adeyemi, João Amaro, Berit Bessel, Clement Blanchet, Kees van Casteren, Frank Eittorf, Gaspard Estourgie, Thomas v. Girsewald, Ramona Jens, Rob de Maat, Cristina Murphy, Marco di Piaggi, Beatriz Ramo, Maurizio Scarciglia, Beatrice Schiavina, Tiago Simas Freire, Spela Stern, Camia Young.

Local project manager:
Massimo Alvisi (Rome)

Team schematic design phase a-z:
Luca Astorri, Christina Beaumont, Andrea Bertassi, Kees van Casteren, Daniele De Benedictis, Maria Derevencova, Claire Destrebecq, Anders Esko-Nielsen, Carlos García González, Stamatis Giannikis, Joana Lima, Ralph van Mameren, Cristina Murphy, Mariano Sagasta, Maurizio Scarciglia, Benoit Schelstraete, Manuel Villanueva, Jussi Vuori, Claudia Wolfsfeld

Project architect, competition phase:
Roberto Otero

Competition team:
Kunle Adeyemi, João Amaro, Berit Bessel, Clement Blanchet, Kees van Casteren, Frank Eittorf, Gaspard Estourgie, Thomas v. Girsewald, Ramona Jens, Rob de Maat, Cristina Murphy, Marco di Piaggi, Beatriz Ramo, Maurizio Scarciglia, Beatrice Schiavina, Tiago Simas Freire, Spela Stern, Camia Young


PUBLICATIONS
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