Rome || Italy
When you leave Rome and head towards the sea, you head in a direction that has long been an area for the city’s future expansion. Today, this part of town is taking on its vocation for services and management: the new Europarco, home to major public and private institutions, has been built just to the south of EUR and east of Via Cristoforo Colombo. The new headquarters for ATAC, Rome’s transport authority, runs longitudinally along the eastern side of the newly-built district, its length marking out Via Ribotta. Finished in 2014, ATAC’s new home occupies a surface area of some 5000 m². The complex offers 20,300 m² of space distributed over ten levels above ground, plus an additional level for installations.
Transit practice architects adopted a concept of integrated management for every aspect of its approach towards this service industry management project. This applies from the whole building down to individual workstation level and, indeed, on to the smallest detail. Studio Transit’s experience in designing management buildings prompts it to focus on project perception. The practice has anchored this perception to the local area, broadening the works’ appeal by raising its profile and making it coherent with the surrounding local area. The new ATAC headquarters building intrinsically links three elements: its relationship with the urban context, the way the volumes are articulated, and its internal distribution.
The complex’s position – along the side of this new management office/commercial development – inspired the creative concept of a fence that is easy to recognize from a number of different angles, highlighting the pedestrian access to the commercial piazza that lies behind. The façade’s composition is informed by a need for visibility and for standing out in the Metropolitan landscape, as well as by the intrinsic relationship with the internal functions whose public interface lies outside. The building’s exterior is characterized by articulated volumes in different materials that pick out the three highly-recognizable main elements. The main volume consists of office levels.
Conceived as a predominantly material element, it is composed of opaque horizontal bands alternating with glazed strips set back from the level of the façade, leading them to be perceived as dark slots. The block that houses the canteen on the ground floor (and meeting rooms on the upper floors) was designed as a vertically-unfolding pure parallelepiped, using a façade of glass cells screened by expanded metal. The block that contains the building’s upper two floors – in this case, offices and technical areas – is a glazed volume that juts out over the volumes beneath, cadenced by a system of irregular vertical brise-soleil.
The visual and pedestrian links between the inner piazza and the external road network are highlighted by a large portal that protrudes from the façade, evoking architectural forms and archetypes typical of the Eternal City.
Location: Roma, Italy
Client: BNP Paribas
Gross Floor Area: 20,300 m2
Cost of Construction: 32,000,000 Euro
Architects: Studio Transit
Structural: Pagnoni Vita Ingegneri Associati
Curtain Wall: Focchi
Glass: AGC Your Glass
Photography: © Francesco Pinto courtesy Studio Transit
Operating in Rome since 1972, the Transit practice’s partners are Gianni Ascarelli (founder), Alessandro Pistolesi, Sergio Vinci and Manuela De Micheli, as well as many people who work with the studio. Right from the very start, Transit's design work focused on the most expansive and diversified sectors of architecture. Typical examples are systems for transport and traffic, and trade distribution systems, on which the practice has worked for many years, conceiving projects characterized by leading-edge solutions. As well as operating in these sectors, the practice has also worked in the field of residences and urban renewal, leveraging a quality-based approach that above all it channels through its construction of integrated complexes, some of which are of public interest. Transit has tackled the issue of service industry management through judicious design management, from the entire building to individual workstations, leveraging an approach in which design is expressed right down to the smallest details. The practice's many works experiment with the perception of design, anchored to historic memory and local landmarks in order to broaden their works’ appeal, making them more recognizable while remaining coherent with the local area that is directly affected. When tackling metropolitan transport, the practice has conceived an architectural approach based on "connective" spaces that it has developed as a summation of specialized areas, drawing on an ability to recover compromised, unsupported spaces on the urban margins. While staying true to the principles of modernity and rationality that have defined its history, over the years Transit has constantly updated its design style through an ever-evolving approach. The practice combines leading-edge morphological solutions with advanced technologies and a penchant for choosing materials free of conditioning factors.