BNL-BNP Paribas Headquarters - Powerfully expressive architecture for new urban scenarios | The Plan
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BNL-BNP Paribas Headquarters - Powerfully expressive architecture for new urban scenarios

5+1AA Alfonso Femia Gianluca Peluffo

The new BNL-BNP Paribas headquarters is part of Rome’s General Land Use Program for the area around the Tiburtina railway station, drawn up by the ABDR practice for the 2000 Jubilee. The bank is a positive second step on the road to the overall revitalization of this north-eastern district of Rome, begun with the development of a strategic railway station, whose third step will include a “bridge station” linking the Pietralata neighborhood and the area of the Tiburtina station. Hopefully too, the third step will also include the relocation of an electricity power plant and the upgrading of the whole area with new services, a development that will allow the bank headquarters to take its rightful place as the landmark building in a new setting. Interestingly, this horizontal skyscraper - a very appropriate design for a difficult elongated plot - seems to make pointed reference to the two-faced Herm, or Greek statue, and hence to the two-headed god Janus. The proximity to the high-speed railway line most certainly influenced the design of the façade overlooking the track. An articulated series of recesses and projections, this north-west elevation has a fluid “horizontal dynamism” that clearly takes its cue from the tracks where high-speed trains either stop or streak by. The layering of the inclined planes creates a striking effect of refracted light. Installed in a zigzag configuration, the glazed panels create an overall sense of urgent speed, a concept dear to the Italian Futurists. In fact, the whole building seems imbued with a sense of speed. On grey cloudy days, the colors of the elevation bring to mind the 1914 painting entitled Cavallo+cavaliere+case by Umberto Boccioni. The fluidity of the reflective surface makes the whole elevation, especially the crown, seem to dematerialize in the changing light, losing its consistency in the urban landscape as it reflects sunsets and clouds. 5+1 architects Femia and Peluffo have...

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