Monday, June 2, 2008
Apartments by Adalberto Libera
In the Tuscolano neighborhood in the southern part of Rome (near Cinecittà) there is an interesting housing project (1950-1954) designed by Adalberto Libera. It remains the only single level (one story) apartment complex in Rome.
The entrance to the apartments as seen from the adjacent neighborhood.
When you first approach the apartments on Via Selinute, you encounter a long row of storefronts, in a single-level building. It is interrupted in the middle by an almost “monumental” entrance, formed by a vaulted roof that seems to float above the walls that support it. On entering, you leave the rest of the city behind and walk into a large garden with radial paths that take residents to their apartments.
After crossing the garden you enter the apartment grid. Each section of the grid has four parts. Three of the parts are apartments and the fourth part is a patio. This plan offers residents a new possibility for outside space, a semi-private patio.
While this views shows that the roofs are not attractive when looked at from above, it does reveal the open patios. Between the apartments and the freight train, visible in the distance, is a small river, and beyond the train are ancient Roman ruins.
In addition to the low houses, Libera built an apartment tower of five floors, each with a “ballatoio.” The building’s stairs led to outside walkways that gave access to the apartments, rather than to inside landings with the apartment doors. This was an innovation that has been often repeated in Rome. (The Italian word” ballatoio” is often translated as balcony, but it is really more like a suspended bridge, a place for walking, or maybe even dancing!)
Note: Libera designed many other projects in Rome, including a post office.