Italian architecture practice Studio Fuksas has completed the largest building in Rome in over 50 years. Opening to the public in October 2016, the New Rome /EUR Convention Hall and Hotel ‘the Cloud’ is a €239 million earthquake proof complex that has taken 18 years of planning and construction.
It will host auditoriums, exhibition spaces and a hotel – amassing 55,000 square metres in new public space. Through both trade and tourism, the convention centre is expected to bring in between 300 – 400 million euros annually to the city of Rome.
Located south of the city’s core, in the business district of EUR, the complex follows the simple orthogonal lines of the surrounding 1930s rationalist architecture. The spaces surrounding the centre will serve as two public squares. Integral to the new complex and the neighbourhood, these new spaces will provide citizens with places for various leisure and outdoor activities, offering a new meeting area in this busy part of Rome.
The New Rome /EUR Convention Hall and Hotel ‘the Cloud’ comprises three distinct architectural concepts: the basement, the ‘Theca’ and ‘Cloud’, and the ‘Blade’.
The basement is accessed on Viale Cristoforo Colombo, via a staircase that leads into the building’s main foyer and information point. Past this area, a large concourse feeds into an expansive congress and exhibition hall that can host up to 6000 people.
The ‘Theca’ is the stunning outer shell and façade of the convention Hall and Hotel, which has been made from a combination of metal, glass and re-enforced concrete. Inside the building, 7,800 square metres of new public space will play host to public and private conferences, exhibitions and large-scale events. Suspended inside the ‘Theca’ is the ‘Cloud’ – the interplay between these two spaces is essential to the complex – symbolising the connection between the city of Rome and the convention centre. The ‘Cloud’ is an independent cocoon-like structure that is covered in 15,000 square metres of highly advanced membrane fiber glass and flame-retardant silicone and is supported laterally at points by the ‘Theca’. It lies at the heart of the complex and is accessed by the ‘Forum’ – an artery walkway that fuses the two structures together. Inside the ‘Cloud’, five levels (supported by escalators and walkways) lead to a 1,800 capacity auditorium. In order to ensure that the ‘Cloud’ system does not interfere with the rest of the complex, the auditorium is clad in wooden cherry panels.
The final architectural concept is the ‘Blade’ – an autonomous building split into 17 floors and containing a new 439-room hotel built to provide accommodation to visitors to the centre and the city of Rome. Spread over 18,000 square metres, the ‘Blade’ will also include seven boutique suites, a spa and a restaurant.
The building has been constructed from 37,000 tons of steel – the equivalent weight of four and a half Eiffel Towers. Additionally, 58,000 metres of glass has been used for the centre’s exterior and interior design, which is enough to cover the surface of 10 football pitches.
The centre is fully earthquake-proofed – the stiffness of its vertical structure is able to with stand both small and large seismic waves.
In addition, the building’s insulators have a horizontal rigidity, which works against the movements of small earthquakes, whilst their low rigidity enables large oscillations with low accelerations during more violent tremors.
An eco-friendly approach underscores the design of the centre, with integrated air-conditioning that will be carried out by a reversible heat pump. This system is capable of achieving high energy performances whilst reducing electricity consumption. A natural ventilation system is also in place – with the cool water of the nearby EUR lake extracted and filtered into the system. The roof’s photovoltaic panels (glass and silicon wafer) help to produce energy and protects the building from overheating through the mitigation of solar radiation.
When fully operational, the basic power load of the New Rome /EUR convention Hall and Hotel ‘the Cloud’ will be supplied by the power station of cogeneration as well as any power generated by the buildings’ geothermal and photovoltaic network. The mutual interdependence of these systems ensures that the complex is able to function in any instances of a technical failure.
The centre’s eco features also comprise a rain water harvesting system, where exterior panels collect rainwater and filter it into a storage tank. The water can then be pumped, on demand, from the tank to the internal water system.
Fuksas’ design for the complex was created with flexibility in mind – spaces are interchangeable and can be amended to accommodate large or small conferences, lectures and events with a maximum seating allowance of nearly 8,000 seats, divided between the auditorium inside the ‘Cloud’, (1,800 capacity), and large conference rooms in the basement (6,000 seats). The underground level of the building also has more than 600-place parking area.
Many of the complex’s Interior details have also been realised by Studio Fuksas. In the Auditorium, the red armchairs have been made by Poltrona Frau and specially designed by Fuksas architects. The building’s bespoke ‘Cloud’ lamp has been produced by iGuzzini and conceived by the studio.
An official inauguration ceremony will take place on 29 October, marking the New Rome /EUR convention Hall and Hotel ‘the Cloud’ as a new integral landmark in Rome’s architectural fabric.
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Competition (1st phase): November 1998
Preliminary Project: July 2001
Definitive project: February 2004
Executive project: March 2007
First stone: 11 December 2007
Works start: March 2008
Theca structure: May-June 2010
Cloud structure: February2012
Opening: October, 2016
Project: New Rome /EUR convention Hall and Hotel ‘the Cloud’
Site: Rome-Eur, Italy
Address: At the corner of via C. Colombo and viale Asia
Architects: Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas
Interior design: Fuksas Design
General contractor: SocietàItaliana per Condotted’AcquaSpA
Built surface: 55,000 sq. m.
Engineering: Plans: A. I. Engineering, Torino
Structures: Studio Majowiecki; Studio Sarti
Safety: Studio Sarti
Acoustics: XU – Acoustique, Parigi, A.I. Engineering, Torino
Lighting consulting: Speirs & Major Associates, Edinburgh, London
Structure: metallic and reinforced concrete
Height: 39 m (from the underground level 48 mt) width: 70 m length: 175 m
Outer and transversal façades: stratified extra-bright glass and stratified lamellar extra-bright glass
Inner façades: double gazing with solar factor cellular system and double gazing with solar factor REI cellular sys
Outer façades: 16,075 sq.m.
Outer longitudinal façades: 13,880 sq.m. (6,9420×2)
Outer transversal façades: 2,195 sq.m. (1,301 via Colombo and 894 viale Shakespeare)
Roof (11,000 sq.m.): glass with solar factor and 3,000 sq.m. panels with mono crystalline photovoltaics
Inner flooring: travertine
Forum: 7,500 sq.m. (public square)
Coating: microperforated Atex® 2000 TRL sheet
Flooring: industrial parquet
Auditorium: 1,800 seats, seat “Carla” for Poltrona Frau designed by Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas
Bar and foyer: 450 sq.m.
Hotel –hall – restaurant 2,600 sq.m.
Hotel: 18,000 sq.m.
439 rooms, including 7 suites, 1 spa
Height: 55 mt
Structure: metallic and reinforced concrete
Façades: black double glazing (grey + Energy N) with solar factor, high energetical performance
Congress space: 7,800 sq.m. (6,000 seats)
Meeting rooms: 600 sq.m. (4 meeting rooms, 100 seats each)
Offices: 1,100 sq.m.
Storage rooms: 3,470 sq.m.
Concourse: 4.200 sq.m.
Parking: 20,100 sq.m. (615 places)
Lamps: “Cloud” for iGuzzini designed by Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas
Congress Centre Restaurant: 700 sq.m.
Main access square: 1,600 sq.m.
The completion of the Centre represents 18 years of work for Fuksas–having won an international architectural competition held in 1998 by the Municipality of Rome, with Eurs.p.a. Fuksas’ design was selected by a highly qualified jury of international peers chaired by Lord Norman Foster.
Studio Fuksas is led by Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas, is an international architectural practice with offices in Rome, Paris, Shenzhen. The practice employs around 170 professionals, including architects, designers, modellers, landscapers, graphic designers. With built projects across Europe, Asia and North America, Studio Fuksas is characterized by an innovative approach as well as interdisciplinary skills and experiences consolidated over three decades through the design of: masterplans, offices, residential buildings, infrastructures, cultural centres, leisure centres, retail developments, hotels, shopping malls, public buildings, interior design and product design. Every stage of each project, from concept to planning to construction, is carried out in close contact with the Client. Depending on the peculiarities of each project, a teamwork is created and co-ordinated by a project-manager that interacts with professional engineering consultants under the direction of Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas. Regular internal meetings are aimed at discussing on-going projects as well as promoting dialogue, creativity and common solutions. The planning phase makes use of a models room technologically equipped for the construction of multiple scale architectural models in different materials to provide an effective tool for both an overall and highly detailed display of the project.