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The Strategy of Fragments

Within the site, each of the four hills represent a separate prototypical structure and narrative: Ideal City, Hill Town, Urban Megastructure, and South Hill Campus.

The Aventine as an Ideal City (figure 17): its actual plan is a deformation of this, retaining the closed perimeter and open center (figure 18).

The Palatine as Urban Megastructure: its figural core stabilizes a variety of edges (figure 19); and adapts to the specific perimeter conditions. The axonometric indicates possible internal growth. The spatial structure of garden parterres solidify into urban blocks, transforming a palace into an elaborate urban texture (figure 20).

The Celio as a Hill Town at the edge of the Villa Mattei. It forms rationalized spatial sequences linked to a new central piazza at Santo Stefano Rotondo (figure 21): the actual plan also shows an ancient Roman collision of monumental figures (figure 22). This hill town can extend to a larger triangular field formed with the Coliseum and Saint John the Lateran (figure 23).

17) 18)   The Aventine - Ideal City

21) 22)   The Celio - Hill town

The South Hill Campus: Rockefeller Center in New York is an inverse model implanted in Rome for a comparison of scale. It positions the RCA building to emerge from the plan of a temple (figure 24). The actual plan is a scale transposition of Fifth Avenue, the Ice Skating Rink, and Radio City Music Hall built into the hill as a Roman theater (figure 25). At the larger city scale, the RCA building looms as the ultimate obelisk, visible down the Corso from the Piazza del Popolo (figure 26). In context, the adjacent Baths of Caracalla and the fragmented precinct of New York City enter into a dialogue of juxtaposition (figure 27).

24) The RCA building rises from a temple plan

  1. 25)The plan of Rockefeller Center drawn in Nolli format shows the channel garden leading to the skating rink and the RCA building, which when stripped to its steel frame and solid elevator cores, mimics a temple plan. Radio city music hall is shown as a Roman theater.

  1. 26)RCA Building, masquerading as a temple plan is placed on axis with with the Piazza del Popolo and the Corso in an imagined symbolic collage of New York’s and Rome’s common urbanism.

  1. 27)Plan of Rockefeller Center district juxtaposed with the mega-forms of the Circus Maximus and the Baths of Caracalla  as an indication of scale and size.

  1. 28)Visual axes from the Circus Maximus to St Peters.

  1. 30)Extensions of the Circus Maximus geometry.

  1. 29)View to St Peters from the Circus Maximus.

The Roman Forum: a perpendicular axis connects the Tiber embankment into the Roman Forum and orients the location of the Capitoline Hill (figure 31, figure 32).

The Roman theme of straight lines from Sixtus the 5th: new lines are introduced within the site sector to complete the larger Roman network of linear connections in the south-west corner (figure 33).

The Tactics of Connections

Within the site, various methods are used to form connections and transitions between the separate pieces.

  1. 1.Interpenetration of fields: the overlapping of edges and patterns between fields establishes a multiplicity of relationships and coexistent (figure 34).

  2. 2.Continuity of texture: all continuity with the existing Roman center must be stretched through the narrow bottleneck of the Forum Boarium. The existing urban fabric texture is extended and re-channeled.

  3. 3.Geometry of axes: extending the center line of the Circus Maximus reveals new possible orders; a cross axis to the Roman forum, a triangular lagoon in the river bend that focuses on the Tiber Island and makes a split connection between Trastevere and central Rome. (figure 35 - before), and (figure 36 - after).

33) Theme of straight lines of Rome.

  1. 34)Interpenetration of fields - with streets and edges on different orientations.

  1. 31)Plan of the Tiber embankment road crossing in front of the porch of the medieval church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin

  1. 32)View of the Tiber embankment cross axis connecting the Roman Forum and the Curia.

  1. 35)Existing plan just north of the Circus Maximus shows bottleneck of disconnected fragments.

  1. 36)Plan of the continuous arc of urban fabric behind Santa Maria in Cosmedin opposite the Tiber Island.

  1. 4.Public landscape: the structure between the separate hill fragments is an interstitial network of gardens and trees (figure 37).

  2. 5.The French Garden as model: superimposed on the city as continuity, not authority, it becomes a starting point for extensions – space breaks out of the site but retains its local origins. The garden becomes an alternative urban strategy (figure 38).

  3. 6.The Italian Garden generates texture: the existing gardens of the Villa Mattei provide a pattern for urbanism (figure 39 - before) (figure 39 - after) and (figure 40 - air view).

  1. 40)Aerial perspective (drawn by SKP 1977)

  2. The urbanized Villa Mattei is in the upper right.  At the center, the Circus Maximus is transformed by a cross axis connecting the ancient exedra on the Palatine to align with new gardens of the Aventine.  Open on the near side, it is the last bottom parterre of the Aventine Villa.  Closed on the far side, it is the foreground to two long “Nash” housing terraces, in an ironic reverse history of classical architecture.

  1. 38)French Garden planning integrates the Aventine Hill and the Circus Maximus spaces into a unified formal conception.

  1. 37)Public Landscape connections

  1. 39)Before and after plans; The Italian Garden as a model for urban form. The two round garden points in front of the Villa Mattei become urban squares in the core for new urban development.

  2. The diagonal downhill path along the Villa walls becomes a road leading to a new public square centered on the existing little church of "S Lorenzo in Panep.”

  1. 23)The larger triangular field is reinforced by the great arcing road at the bottom of the Celio Hill

  1. 19)The Palatine Plan - An Urban Megastructure - The “T” shaped figure centered on the palace defines the Circus Maximus with two “Nash Terraces”.

The Strategy of Lines

Visual and conceptual links are made beyond the site:

Axes focused on Saint Peter’s run parallel to the Circus Maximus extending visual connections to the Basilica, while the proposed completion of fortifications link the site through Trastevere to the Vatican (figure 28, figure 29).

An extension of the Circus Maximus geometry conceptually transforms the Tiber into a right-angle. An axis from the site connects visually to the end of the Via Giulia at the Ponte Sisto (figure 30), while bridges within the site define the river as a series of lagoons.

  1. 20)The restored Empirical Palace could serve as an armature for urban blocks to co-habit the hilltop.