The time to take time. (The philosophy behind the project) To give value back to heritage. It must be done with sincerity and with the passion that leads us to rediscover traces and origins of a project, of certain decisions, of a story. The desire to confront ourselves with the dimension of time, this must guide us. It is necessary to carry out a design that coherently brings back what time has driven away a few times from the founding values of a project, transforming it into another. It is often an inevitably physiological path, of everything that goes through time, it moves away at the passing of the moments and of the different eras, and if the following stratifications and/or the changes made have not been able to make the work evolve into another dimension of value and contents, what becomes essential is the reaffirmation of its original identity, or at least of a very near dimension of it. All of this translates into a series of actions which aim to free the spaces, the surfaces, the architecture, the time. Historical punctuations such as the minting machines, become non silent physical presences in their taking shape in freed spaces. The reopened courtyards and skylights that reflect a shed grammar, with an incessant rhythm, allow us to reconstitute a delicate and sweet relationship of light within the building. The new is not imagined as an addition or as an autonomous element, but wants to become naturally part of the project, in balance within the original volumetric relationships, without entering into competition or subordination with them, but trying to make it an integral part, by geometry, alignments, rhythms. A unitary color and material that react to the light and the sky of the city in dialogue with the mineral materiality of the preexisting, in a continuous relationship between filters, lights, shadows and reflections. Like a watermark is discovered between the fingers that run on the paper coin, the contemporary fits into history. The time has come to take the time in order for a cultural heritage to return and be once again part of the life and the history of the city of Rome and of man. Technical description The building of the First Italian State Mint on via Principe Umberto represents one of the key elements for the development of the area that extends itself south of Stazione Termini and which finds its center in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II. The project has as its first objective the redevelopment and renovation of the existing building, emphasizing its original features which date back to the first half of the 1900s, in accordance with a re-functionalization of the internal spaces designed to accommodate the new program specified in the call. The attitude towards the existing is based on the desire to find the identitary elements that characterized the symmetrical and composed volumetric system of the building and the "industrial" flavour of the rooms, given by the presence of large machines for processing coins and by the exposed plant system that the project maintains and emphasizes. Therefore the demolition of all the superfetations - which have pervaded the roofs and concealed the clear three-court structure over the years - was foreseen, providing for the demolition and reconstruction of the top floor of the central body, with an advancement of the volume towards Via Principe Amedeo, always in compliance with the limits given by local Regulations and by the constraint of historical interest on the property. The new volume is characterized by an orderly and "delicate" architecture in its relationship with the existing one. From a functional point of view, the project emphasizes the stereometric structure of the current building: its base contains the museum and the spaces open to the public, such as the cafeteria, the bookshop and the congress hall. On the first floor, the library and the service center. The Medal School is situated in the central courtyard and in the front on Via Principe Umberto. Finally, in the middle volume there is the guesthouse with the restaurant. The introduction of new stairways has given the opportunity to optimize the internal flows, separating them according to the functions and integrating them with the existing body. A project that therefore aims to integrate the past, to research and rediscover the original features of the State Mint building, but always keeping in mind the future and its ability to revitalize, through the new program and spaces rich in history and value.
Atelier(s) Alfonso Femia is an international architecture firm based in Genoa, Milan and Paris.
The experience gained in more than 25 years of design activity, developed at all scales of intervention, is reflected in the depth of approach to the most sensitive issues of the city and the territory. Founder of the atelier(s) is Alfonso Femia: in 1995, he created and co-founded 5+1, transformed in 2005 into 5+1AA which subsequently, in 2017, changed its name to Atelier(s) Alfonso Femia.
The physical belonging (the three ateliers) to three different geographies Genoa, Milan and Paris characterizes an atypical professional aspect that is inspired by the contamination with art, photography, literature, music.
His most recent projects include the new Vimar headquarters in Marostica, the Dallara Academy in Parma, the new headquarters of the BNL-BNP Paribas Group in Rome, Les Docks de Marseille, The Corner in Milan and a residential social housing complex in Milan.