Phillip Denny

Rome Center for Peace

Part of a course of study in Rome with Cornell University, Spring 2013.

The Rome Center for Peace and Religious Studies project reconciles the need for the construction of a massive institution on an actively utilized public landscape. The project explores the potentials of the mat-form building to activate context and expand the urban field. The architecture connects a series of interrelated programs to a wide range of urban situations. The project’s intricately scaled network of outdoor spaces extends the public realm over, under, and through the architectural environment. The ground plane is considered as an intensive architectural landscape, a plinth of public programs that create a public campo above. At the heart of the building, a central void connects all of the project’s functions, a non-programmed green space sheltered by the building-as-canopy above. The building’s raison d’etre, the religious study centers, occupy the highest points of the building. Raised above the public plinth, the centers pair enclosed study spaces with exterior courtyards. The study centers and libraries form a continuous, porous canopy that unites the building’s form, and defines the public realm.