Choong-il Joseph Kim
Cornell University
Hong Kong

Project idea

This project repurposes Rome’s abandoned 19th century slaughterhouses. The complex is unlike any other, with a network of rails spanning between buildings, weaving through spaces, and binding them together. Unfortunately, only a few of the buildings have been converted for the use of Rome's University of Architecture, and the majority of this industrial time capsule is walled off from the city.

In order to revitalize this campus, a harmonious combination of programs must complement the existing school of architecture, and the complex must open up to the streets.

Project description

Two axes are carved through the campus, opening it to the city, the neighbors, and the people. Firstly, on the city’s scale, these two axes extend the existing major roads, which had been blocked by the campus' walls. Secondly, on the scale of the neighborhood, these two new axes reach out to the surrounding market, waterfront, apartments, and concert space, connecting them into the slaughterhouse complex. The slaughterhouses are then converted into creative offices, retail shops, and a completely new art gallery. This rich combination of programs will establish a creative hub in one of Rome's most trendy neighborhoods.

Finally, on the human scale, these two axes peel away layers of the buildings to expose the creative activity inside. The windows are also enlarged in an arcaded fashion that references the neighboring ancient arcades. These dramatic subtractions allow the campus to breathe, open up, and reveal its network of rails, which engage with different programs in different ways; the rails in the gallery suspend panels for artworks, while the rails that connect the auditorium to the classrooms establish a relationship between the two.

Ultimately, the goal of this proposal is to confront Rome’s reluctance to adapt historical ruins and meet the programmatic needs of the city. This development frames obsolete rails in new ways, thereby inspiring people to reconsider the potential roles ruins can play in a city.

Technical information

I surveyed and modeled every slaughterhouse according to the 19th century drawings. These slaughterhouses retain their original structures and details. The only building that is completely redesigned is the primary art gallery, illustrated at the bottom of the master plan. This art gallery retains the preexisting system of rails, but suspends them below a new structure. This new structure spans beams across the art gallery, over the outdoor sculpture gallery, and into a secondary art gallery.

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