Mario Cucinella Architects’ New “Piazza Dei Navigatori” in Rome Is Inspired by Surrounding Maritime Pine Trees.

10 Jul 2023

4 min

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Mario Cucinella Architects has unveiled the design for the new Piazza dei Navigatori in RomeItaly. Planned as a mixed-use development, the design is predominantly for residential spaces, with a retail and office component, parking, and “plant rooms”. The development is located in an area rich in natural elements, which heavily inspires this urban agglomeration.

The architecture takes inspiration from the surrounding natural characteristics of this urbanized location to create a concept for residential construction that is tightly interwoven with those features. Maritime pines, a tree of enormous significance in Rome’s landscape, are all around the visitor as they enter. The proposal combines the landscape and reworks it into the architectural design, breaking from the monolithic nature of the nearby structures.

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The 12-story structure resembles an inhabited forest with tree trunks and branches of varying heights that work together to split the architectural volume. Instead of creating a collection of independent towers that would weaken the project’s unity, the architectural plan arranges the complex as a solitary structure. This approach aims to optimize the amount of sunlight from the south while capturing views of Rome’s center to the north. The single block was subsequently divided into smaller sections, ensuring numerous rooms were situated on corners affording views towards the east and west. The outcome is a multifaceted mass that gradually diminishes in size as it ascends, enveloped by a series of curved terraces that progressively extend outward.

The ground floor’s commercial area heavily influences the positioning of the entrances and the arrangement of the residential block. The primary entrance hall on the southern side holds particular significance with its impressive double-height structure that directly overlooks the plaza. This entrance serves both residents and office workers, who pass through the space as they ascend to the first floor. A shared common hall contains an atrium to the north and three distribution cores that cater to the apartments. By incorporating roof terraces on the two lower floors, spacious rooftop gardens have been created, offering outdoor spaces for both residents and office workers to enjoy.

At levels 8 and 9, the design includes enclosed terraces that soften the verticality of its structure. Aside from a shared section designated for condominium use, these terraces are intended for private usage and specifically reserved for the larger apartments on the lower floors. The progressive expansion of the building’s volume as it ascends also enables each floor to have a distinct layout, allowing for a variety of apartment sizes and types, with larger units situated on the higher floors. The inclusion of plants and landscaping is an integral aspect of the building’s design, seamlessly integrated with the openings along the building’s edges. The incorporation of greenery adds a domestic touch and allows for panoramic views of the surrounding area.

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The initial phase of the design process prioritized environmental considerations, making the most of the natural resources available in the surrounding area. The proposed strategies aim to enhance the connection between indoor and outdoor settings while providing optimal comfort for all visitors. The project aims to minimize environmental impact and reduce reliance on active systems by implementing a range of passive measures. These measures include enhancing wind permeability, maximizing natural light, implementing rainwater harvesting, and generating renewable energy on-site. During the summer, transparent surfaces are appropriately screened to minimize direct sunlight and reduce the need for active cooling systems, relying instead on natural room ventilation. Furthermore, a high-performance building envelope has been designed to minimize heat loss and maximize efficiency. Finally, a portion of the energy required to operate active systems is generated on-site through the installation of a rooftop photovoltaic system.

Sezione bioclimatica

In March, Mario Cucinella Architects began construction on two mixed-use towers that will shape Vienna’s skyline. The new dynamic urban developments also include residential and office spaces. Additionally, the studio designed the Ekspozita Building in Tirana, Albania, compromising commercial, residential, and public amenity spaces. Last year, during Milan Design Week, DAAily Platforms interviewed Mario Cucinella about his recent work and projects. In the interview, Cucinella discussed his work “Design with Nature”, which brought together 20 innovative materials from natural resources with the potential to be used in building.

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