Cities across Europe, and indeed the across the globe, have an ever changing architectural landscape which includes century-old historical buildings coming together with modern, forward-thinking structures to create a skyline with a harmonious mix of old
and new. Not only are historical buildings being restored to their
former glory, but some are also being given a modern twist of their
own. One such example is this 19th century building in the
centre of historic Rome, not far from the famed Spanish Steps. The ex-government building
Union Militare has been given a modern twist by
architect Massimiliano Fuksas, which began in 2008, and was completed 5 years later in 2013.
From street level, there are no real clues or any sort of giveaway as to the complexity of the new roof terrace and refurbished interior. The exterior façade has been restored with its original look in mind, reconnecting it to the other buildings in this historical part of Rome.
However, the roof of the
Unione Militare paints a very different picture. Here,
The Lantern, which is the new name given to the roof structure of the building, adds
a contemporary architectural element with a whole new form. The
structure of glass and steel opens a dialogue with the roofs and domes
of the city. The
San Carlo al Corso, one of Rome's famous basilica
churches is only a few steps away, and can be seen here in the
background. The contrast of rich history and modern architecture
breathes new life into the centre of one of the world's most
Entering the new addition, the visual impact made by the shadows cast by the sun and the patterned roof is
truly amazing, and is sure to excite any fan of modern architecture.
The Lantern has a height of nearly 8 metres, and offers visitors a
unique vantage point of central Rome and its famous churches and
Internally, part of the flooring over 4 storeys has been removed to allow for this undeniably stunning internal skeleton of glass and steel to be installed, which is completely invisible from the outside. Running from the top of the existing building to the ground floor, all levels are now seamlessly connected.
The building has a massive area of over 6100 square metres across four levels, and has been brought well and truly into the 21st century, with a clean and modern interior, with elements of the glass and steel skeleton never too far from sight.
Splashes of bright colour have been added, with each flooring owning its own eye-popping tone. Subtle uses of curved lines and rounded corners subconsciously lead visitors around the building, across the different levels and past different colours.
In any modern refurbishment or new build, lighting plays a vital role in setting the tone and mood. The task of illuminating the ultra-modern interior was given to Speirs & Major Associates, while all the furniture was designed by Fuksas. Fibreglass in a glossy white finish, characterised by a sculptural form, is the main design feature of the tables, desks and chairs, which follow a common design to create a homogeneous space.
You can imagine how the new structure of steel gained the name
The Lantern, which lights up at night much
like a lighthouse. While still respecting the buildings history, yet
adding a contemporary twist, this addition from Massimiliano Fuksas
is an example of what we will see more of in the future in historical
centres around the world.
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