Assignment: Restricted Competition
Client: Qatar Embassy
Location: Roma, ITA
With: Exen Srl, D. Troiani, A. De Simone
Maquette: S. Arrabito
Complying with the Client’s wishes, the project for the new Qatari diplomatic compound in Rome, while reflecting the State of Qatar image and vision – that means rich cultural history and future aspirations – respects the local context and complies with all planning and design regulations of the Municipality of Rome. Each element of the compound has its own characteristics, peculiarities, and needs, but all of them contribute to the same harmony. This harmony has been articulated through a terracing landscape intervention that integrates the building elements with the territory, defining the sloping plot in two main levels and three zones.
The three zones are well defined, while interconnected. All of them are both served by a direct controlled access from the shared road climbing uphill from Via Camilluccia, and by the vehicular and pedestrian road system designed within the plot. The main access (A 0.00) is the closest to Via Camilluccia and is watched by the main security guardroom. This checkpoint is intended both for cars and pedestrians that will be able to reach the upper level (A +3.00) through the building after security control. The first terracing hosts the Consulate that is intended as an extremely functional unit open to the wide public. The one story slab typology orbits around a central welcoming hall defining two wings that organize the spaces of the building. The central hall, as like as the offices, overlook a verdant courtyard from which a system of stairs allows the Consulate staff to reach the Embassy. The entrance/exit to the underground parking is provided right next to the Consulate and is controlled by a guard room that also secures the inner road to the Embassy.
The Embassy is positioned in the highest portion of the plot (A +7.50). The building embodies a symbolic and institutional role reflecting the welcoming spirit of Qatar together with its solid culture and national pride. The typological and morphological origin of the Embassy building – the most relevant element of the entire intervention – implies a deep research of vernacular architecture of Qatar. Starting from this research, innovations and hybridizations are proposed in order to adapt the typology to the context, to nowadays needs and to Client’s instructions. A propylaeum gives VIP access to the building system, while hosting security and drivers’ facilities. The VIP access leads into an enclosed plaza defined on its sides by two porticoes that want to receive the visitor in a welcoming embrace. This elegant exterior space is adorned with two pleasant reflecting pools and four majestic palm trees. Opposite to the propylaeum, the Embassy main building stands out as scenery of the plaza.
The Embassy main building is a three story (above the underground floor) structure which main distribution is organized around a central full height hall lit through a skylight and flanked by two servant slabs organizing all floorplans. A monumental vertical distribution is envisaged opposite to the main entrance. This stairs system is inspired by a masterpiece of Italian architecture: the eighteenth-century stair of the Padula Charterhouse. It has to be considered as an architectural homage to Italy as hosting country, representing the good relations between the two nations. Materialization as well has been thought as a continuous syncretic merge between the two cultural scapes. Lime sandstone, golden steel, white marble, black marble, and glass characterize the entire intervention. The ground-floor of the Embassy hosts all the common spaces (such as the Art Gallery, the Majlis, the Prayer Room, etc.) and the staff facilities. The first floor, enclosed by a continuous patterned jalousie, constitutes the operation core of the Embassy. The offices continue at the third floor, where the Ambassador’s Suite with its related offices and the large meeting room with a marvelous window are also located. The building is covered by a domed roof. Following the vehicles road on the north-east side of the Embassy, a roundabout links the system to the Military Attché building that can become an autonomous unit on the plot 46. The Military Attaché building (A +8.50) is a functional and representative head office characterized by the same architectural language of the Embassy. The entire structure rises around a glazed inner courtyard that provides natural light and ventilation. The building’s roof counters the curve of the dome covering the Embassy with a gentle concave movement. The Ground-floor hosts the welcoming spaces and the common areas for the employees. The military attaché chief’s suite is positioned at the first floor, together with all the other offices. Environmental sustainability has been regarded as an element of paramount importance throughout the design task. Passive climate control strategies (such as natural lighting combined with solar shading, thermal mass utilization, natural ventilation, etc.) are applied and combined with active devices in order to achieve, during the following design phases, the best combination capable of fulfilling the high standards of the LEED Certification.