GRA - MIRRORING CITY

The city layout resembles an extrusion from the GRA (ring road), and contrasts the existing, radial layout of the consular roads of the city of Rome.  The perpetual, infinite, rotating movement of the ring city contrasts and interrupts Rome’s wildfire spread, which projects from the historic centre towards the surrounding countryside. The large living unit retraces an existing layout and can only be linked to that specific place. It takes on the role of a new, targeted, city wall for Rome, which aims to interrupt the uncontrolled development of the outer suburbs and acts as an evocative instrument and a new monument for the eternal city. The GRA is a boundary, which acquires new values and meanings. The ring city is a boundary, inside which the ring citizen is literally imprisoned as he wanders around, just following a perpetual, infinite movement. Inside the city, a series of functions are closed within an enormous envelope, which aims to oppose the dispersion of the contemporary city.The ring city represents a model of alienated society, but at the same time of one which is fascinated by virtual communication. The distances between house-leisure-work cancel each other and are concentrated inside the four domestic walls, effectively disregarding those spaces, which used to be used as meeting spaces. Thus, only vehicles are allowed to cross via the ring road on superimposed levels, which are divided into cars, trains, coaches and buses.  The ring citizen has no more need to move physically. Food provisions in the ring society can be handled by creating a megastore on the various levels, from which it is possible to receive everything required for living via the computer. The house rises above the megastore on three floors, a green band with campsites for tourists. The ring city is, in fact, the tourist’s city, in the sense that the tourist is the only individual able to physically cross the space. He uses the building as a tool to see the historic and urban space.  At the top of the city is a long slit, which represents the ancient walkways around the walled cities. This is the only expedient, which allows light to penetrate inside the spaces, and the only element featuring public green spaces (a linear park). Inside the ring city, there are no infrastructural nodes, and piazzas do not exist. The great, one hundred metre-high and forty metre-wide wall divides the past from the future, the urban landscape from the natural landscape, the empty from the full. This new boundary reveals an envelope covered by an adhesive mirror film, which aims to annul the material and highlight by reflection the city’s history (the past), on the one hand, and the landscape of the Roman countryside on the other.

Year: 2003

Architect: Anna Rita Emili

Collaborator: Giuseppe Foti

Video: Emanuele Piccardo

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