Categories
Architecture

Razing Rome’s Ara Pacis Museum

Is there any hope for Rome to become a modern city? A Reuters article from this Sunday takes a look at that very question, using the Richard Meyer’s Ara Pacis Museum as its whipping boy. the Ara Pacis Museum is a reliquary for the Ara Pacis, an ancient monument to peace commissioned by Emperor Augustus himself. In 1995, when Meier’s design was commissioned by the then-progressive administration, the building was intended to lead The Eternal City into the new millenium. A tall order for any architect, but Meyer’s building is widely regarded as a spectacular failure — often referred to as a gas station. And now there are those who want to see the building destroyed. Most notable among the over-reactionaires is Rome’s current mayor Gianni Alemanno, who has s since tempered his statements. Even so, the Culture Minstry of Rome—let’s call it MiniCult—wants to alter the building so that it doesn’t obscure nearby churches. This, barely two years after it has opened. Here’s what Meier (by proxy of his website, that is) had to say about the project waaay back in 2005, a time before Facebook, Twitter, and Rome’s right-wing mayor:

Categories
Architecture

Architectural Tourism and the Money Shot.

Holding up the Leaning Tower

While in Italy last week, we made a quick side trip to Pisa. What was surely once a nice little town has since been descended upon by thousands of tourists (to be expected, of course) and—even worse—hordes of incredibly pushy souvenir vendors hawking everything from leaning mugs to wind-up toy cars (I still don’t understand that one). All this brought about by one simple bell tower. Despite the vast selection of tilted dishware, the most popular Pisa souvenir seems to be a simple photograph. That’s right, it’s the ubiquitous photo-album-favorite which I’m dubbing, Isn’t this crazy? I’m holding up the Leaning Tower! Ha!

Categories
Architecture

To Italy and Back Again

Ruins in Italy

Back from a whirlwind trip through Rome and Florence, with a couple days in Venice for good measure. Italy is, of course, insanely beautiful and the trip was absolutely incredible. A little too crowded in some places, but then again, it is Italy in July, so that was really to be expected. Highlights for me: The Pantheon, all of Venice, and the massive amounts of monumental sculpture — both in public and in museums. More thoughts and photos coming this week, but for now a 7 photo summary:

Categories
Architecture

In Italy

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Back in a couple weeks!