critic: Andrew ZAGO.
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
Smita LUKOSE: Set in Rome, the context for this project looms larger over architecture and urbanism than any other city.
Imperial, medieval, baroque, fascist; it has repeatedly put into practice our by-now timid assertion that form is itself political and that the form of the city is inseparable from its power. At times cruel, at other times propagandistic, Rome’s form speaks unambiguously of power. Rome is a city of strong form in which buildings are conceived as objects sufficient unto themselves, which then jostle aggressively in the street for dominance.
The project deals with an urban planning component, particularly the planning strategy for 450 housing units, as well as the design of a Città della Scienza, or Science Museum.
The project explores the urban effects of rude posture, along with the effort to partly dissolve the solidity of the building—an “empty density,” in a sense, in which the incompletion of ruins is countered with the immateriality of solids.
The museum sits in a posture that gives itself a “front side” and “back side”. By lifting off the ground towards the street, it opens towards Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI Museum, while dipping underground towards its back to accommodate for more private functions such as conference centers.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
SL: Drawings by Eduardo Chillida.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
SL: Reading: Michael Sorkin, “The End(s) of Urban Design” and Adam Kotsko, Awkwardness.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
SL: SHoP Architects, Snøhetta, Zago Architecture, and Atelier Manferdini.