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Palazzi Dürer

Rome, Italy 2020

Social housing (41 appartments)

with : Aldo Varchetta & Alessandro Ruggiero

supervision : Francesco Cellini (university Roma Tre)

The Dürer buildings (i palazzi dürer) are a set of three social housing towers six floors high, offering 41 housing units ranging from T2 to T5.

These three white monoliths face the post office palace built by Adalberto Libera in 1942, in the Rome neighborhood of Testacchio, known among other things for housing the Caio Cesto Pyramid dating from the first century BC.

The project revolves around a double-skin façade that allows the building to fit into the Roman context which calls for a new urban monument to be built, while offering the inhabitants spaces adapted to human scale and private semi-outdoor spaces.

(A detailed analysis of the project can be found in the conclusion of the article "Antifaçadism" available in the "words" section of this site)

 Pyramid Caio Cestio

Libera's Post-Office

Palazzo Dürer

This double facade system gives the project two scales: that of the city and that of housing. The outer skin is a white concrete block, with dimensions and textures similar to those of the two monuments of the district: the post office and the pyramid. These polyhedrons are designed as immense sculptures impenetrable to both the eye and the mind.

The bays are arranged in a seemingly random fashion and the multiple vertical stripes of striations make it impossible for the bystander to determine how many stories the building has. It thus appears as an unbreakable object, inaccessible to the rest of the world.

Inside this first facade, there is a sinuous brick wall that really provides enclosure for the dwellings. Its organic layout breaks the orthogonal and rigid character of the social housing building and offers to each living room a better sun exposure as well as a covered loggia that serves as an extension in the summer.

Between the two façades, a multiplicity of interstitial spaces develop, made illegible from the outside by the randomness of the openings. They are as many spaces of appropriation returned to the inhabitants while preserving the purity of the overall volume.

The three towers all have different plans to offer multiple housing typologies. However, they all operate on the same compositional principle: a central distribution core that provides access to 3, 4 or 5 dwellings in a ring around.


On the ground floor, the three blocks form a central square, protected from the Roman sun by the shade formed by the leaning façades. This plaza is the link between the busy road and the rest of the park developed on the plot lengthwise. As a result, it deepens slightly to find a certain intimacy and tranquility away from the Roman traffic.

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