Favorite Art Fact File

Who? Luke, architecture student and IAS blog reader

What is one of your favorite artworks? The recently-refurbished Unione Militare building in Rome.

…and your favorite detail? I like the changing colors of the glass terrace on the building’s roof.

IASBlog Costanza Beltrami explains…

The refurbishment of the former headquarters of the Unione Militare (Military Association) was completed in 2013 by the studio of Massimiliano Fuksas.
Now well-known internationally, this Italian architect was born in Rome in 1944 and trained in the city, in close contact with the leading cultural personalities of time, for example Asor Rosa, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Bruno Zevi and Giorgio de Chirico. When still a student he worked for renown studios such as Archigram, and established GRANMA with Anna Maria Sacconi. More recently, he directed the 7th Architecture Biennal in Venice (2000). With the collaboration of his wife Doriana Mandrelli Fuksas, he now heads studios in Rome, Paris and Schenzen (China).

This refurbishment project is fascinating for the subtle contrast between the original nineteenth-century façade of the Unione building, and the high-tech Lanterna that cuts through its four floors and hovers over its roof as an eerie, low-lying cloud.

Hosting an airy terrace with views over the nearby dome of San Carlo al Corso, the ‘Lantern’ makes the building permeable to the changing daylight of the city. Yet, its rhetoric is not only one of openness and interchange: the contrast between the classicizing stone exterior and the sculptural glass honeycombs defining the interior spaces is sharp. Taking the clue from the spread eagle topping the Unione’s façade, the construction’s historical shell could be described as a nest — a conceit of concealment enhancing the allure of the futuristic ‘ghost’ building within.

Photos: WikiArquitectura

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