A new Museum of Science will be built in Rome. Science Forest is the winning project

Winner of the international design competition for Rome's Museum of Science to be built in the spaces of the former Barracks on Via Guido Reni, Flaminio district, is Science Forest by Adat Studio.

Adat Studio ’s Science Forest is the winning project in the international design competition for Rome’s Museum of Science to be built in the spaces of the former Barracks in Via Guido Reni, Flaminio district. The winner was announced yesterday morning in the presence of Mayor of Rome Roberto Gualtieri, City Planning Councillor Maurizio Veloccia, Culture Councillor Miguel Gotor, and Rome City Hall II President Francesca del Bello. At the same time, models and renderings of the project were unveiled.

The Museum of Science is part of the overall redevelopment project of the former barracks curated by CDP Real Asset SGR and constitutes one of the mainurban regeneration interventions launched in Rome to strengthen the city’s cultural identity, relaunching its national and international role. The new Cultural Pole will be built in the area of the former Military Establishment in Via Guido Reni, Flaminio district, and will complete an urban system in which the Ponte della Musica, the Auditorium and the MAXXI with its expansion project, among others, are already present. The identification of the winning proposal thus initiates the overall project, which will proceed in parallel with the private intervention that also includes the construction of a Civic Pole. Part of the financial resources needed for construction will come from the extraordinary urban planning contribution that CDP/implementing party will pay on account of its intervention.

The competition launched last November by the Urban Planning Department of Roma Capitale, as part of the urban transformation process of the former Military Electronic and Precision Materials Plant in Via Guido Reni, was divided into two phases: the first aimed at the acquisition of ideational proposals ended last January with the submission of seventy design proposals, from which the Selection Committee chaired by internationally renowned architect Daniel Libeskind selected the five finalists admitted to the second phase; the second for the acquisition of the five selected technical and economic feasibility projects, from which the Committee chose the winner.

The investment put in place for the construction of the work amounts to about 75 million euros.

Once administrative reviews are completed, the winning project will be approved by the Rome Capital Council in the fall. The goal is to entrust Adat Studio with the implementation of the final design by the end of the year in order to convene the services conference by summer 2024 and, at the end, to proceed with the entrustment of the executive design and the call for tenders. If all timelines are met, work can begin by 2025.

The project presented by Adat Studio experiments with combining the activities of the Science Museum with the life of the city, negating traditional dichotomies such as natural - artificial, indoor - outdoor, public - private, and past - future. Overcoming these oppositions, the project conceives the building as an important but not definitive frame of the history of this place, leaving the lot open to future possibilities of reformulations and considering it as an extension of the existing and future city that takes up the strategic aspects of the Flaminio Urban Project, the Integrated Intervention Plan and the new MAXXI operations - Green MAXXI and MAXXI hub.

The project integrates the interior landscape with the exterior by proposing a public park within its walls and seeks a new collective comfort through contact with the environment: the heart of the project is conceived as a large open but covered park in which a mixed landscape can be discovered and traversed.

The design solution adopted for the Museum of Science in Rome prioritizes two key aspects: minimizing environmental impact and ensuring the building’s flexibility. Some of the elements of the existing building are preserved and reused with targeted interventions, such as maintaining the existing masonry facade, while the interior concrete structures will be demolished and recycled.

The functions contained in the ground floor are public and accessible to all citizens, making the museum a hub for recreation, study, debate and meeting centered on science. The podium of the existing building contains, in addition to the park open to the city, the double-height foyer, cafeteria, bookshop and restaurant on Via Guido Reni, information point, and exhibition gallery for special exhibits. The mezzanine provides spaces for research and museum management.

The exhibition spaces are characterized by very different configurations and features to allow maximum museographic and exhibition design freedom: on the ground floor the southern body is dedicated to the on-demand gallery with zenithal light and spaces of different proportions and heights; on the east ’la stecca’ allows flexible and immersive set-ups with the possibility of dialogue with the outdoor space; above the height of the structure is the new terrace for outdoor exhibitions.

On the top floor numerous capsules of different geometries and sizes are suspended over the park, supported by the forest of artificial trees and connected by glazed corridors. The building is crowned by a semi-transparent open theca to allow cross-ventilation and chimney effect; the roof, as well as the south front of the façade is completely covered with photovoltaic cells that provide the building with significant electricity production.

"The Jury particularly appreciated the clarity of the design concept which, at the urban level, establishes an interesting relationship with MAXXI through a calibrated balance of scale and architectural language, and which, at the building level, generates an attractive and strongly recognizable atmosphere of the museum space. The experience visitors will have in the large greenhouse characterizes the museum in all its parts, makes it recognizable, and entices them to attend the Science Museum even for purposes not strictly related to visiting the exhibitions. The project enhances the urban surroundings and the artifact on which it intervenes, adding new qualities to the existing and the square of the new neighborhood.

The museum proposes a large space open to the public, which is simultaneously a covered plaza and a domestic space to be frequented even during closing hours.

Theencounter between nature and science is explicit and well interpreted: in the main space of the greenhouse, this relationship is based on a fruitful intermingling: at first glance, the division between the two realities is not immediately recognizable, and this ambiguity contributes to the interesting interior space of the Science Museum. The wide typological and dimensional diversification of exhibition spaces contributes to the museum’s flexibility of use and ability to adapt over time to new and different exhibition needs. The suspended capsules will be able to easily accommodate science outreach devices and digital and immersive display technologies."

Image: Rendering Science Forest, the Urban Park in the building’s new courtyard.

A new Museum of Science will be built in Rome. Science Forest is the winning project
A new Museum of Science will be built in Rome. Science Forest is the winning project

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