ocuURB

Occuli Urbano Propaganda Museum, Urban Caravanserai & Gallery Rome, Italy Design 403 Lawrence Zeroth, Critic Pratt Institute School of Architecture Rome Program

Perspective view looking towards the street from inside the courtyard.
Perspective illustrating the museum entrance and pedestrian street that terminates at the nearby church facade. 
Section depicting the pedestrian passage through the site, as well as a portion of the tunnel below that removes automobile traffic from the site.
Section Illustrating the museum entrance and the upper terrace overlooking the courtyard.
Perspective illustrating public passage through the site, as well as the terraced courtyard space that overlooks it.
Section depicting connection between courtyard and the street.
Perspective Illustrating the southern terrace over looking the courtyard below.
Bird's Eye View from the South-West

Satellite View of Existing Site
Satellite View of Site transformed by proposal.
Rome as a city is an archeological layercake. At important historical sites, layers are peeled back to reveal the remnants of antiquity. Although monuments exist as moments in the city, the historical sprawl extends throughout the contemporary city, just below the ground. Digging down for even a single floor can yield massive disruptions in to the historical landscape…
The courtyard typology is ubiquitous around Rome. It can be found in Pallazzos, Villas, older flats, and newer apartment buildings. It suits the city – negotiating between the public street edge and the semi-private, enclosed space. Although developed opportunistically, overtime, the courtyards, appearing as oculi from above, conform to the city’s two-dimensional grid… What could be next for Rome? How can you bring ahistorical city into the future?

Whereas an enclosed courtyard situated on the ground floor of Palazzo creates a disconnection between the space and the city, both with its regular rectangular form within the confines of the irregular city block, and it's screening of the outside city - this proposal celebrates the form of the city block and reveals the city and street below.

The Museum exhibition draws in the visitor, funneling them through its walls, while it plays a game of conceal and reveal. The propaganda center interrupts the sequence, informing, enlightening preparing them to experience the rest of the city. The Caravanserai keeps the visitor overnight, framing the street below in a way unique to the city.

The Urban context of the site is renegotiated, connecting the triangular island to the neighboring block to form a wedge that connects the façade that houses the museum exhibit and propaganda center with the commercial end of the caravanserai complex. No important traffic is interrupted – a road of lesser importance is made exclusive to pedestrians. Above the street, the complex bridges the busy road over to the residential end of the complex, enclosing above an elevated courtyard. From the street, the building is an oculus for viewing the sky, but to the visitors above, a frame of the street life happening below... ­

 
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