Ruin revisits the project and Roman site of Giuseppe Terragni's Danteum. Situated in an excavated site, Ruin appears as a floating mass articulated from the ground. Inside, one discovers the true nature of the building, entering a choreographed sequence of three courtyards that slowly descend towards the level of the ancient city.
The entrance is at street level off Via dei Fori Imperiali into an exterior reception space, followed by a grand staircase which descends half a level to an enclosed courtyard surrounded by the library. The path terminates at the level of the ancient Fori Imperiali, with the archaeological remains of the once great fountains of the Templum Pacis excavated and standing proudly under the Roman sun. At this point it becomes clear that Ruin is hinged off of the ancient Fori, a modern construction clinging to the past.
The interior and program spaces of the project surround the courtyards like modern Roman housing blocks. Light penetrates the building from the courtyards and from slits cut into the roof and walls, so that the façade remains a solid wall. The building is masonry with different brick patterns used to distinguish between the cuts on the exterior. This allows Ruin to be read as a single monolithic mass of Roman masonry but also as several buildings of different times joined together like the typical street block of Rome today.
Cornell in Rome
Professor D. Marchetti