“La Nuvola” by Fuksas

The famous Studio Fuksas has just finished a new project that has been labeled as the largest building in Rome in over 50 years: the EUR Convention Hall and Hotel or La Nuvola in Italian.

Located in the business district of Rome, EUR, this project revolves around the idea of having three elements in the project: the “Basement”, the “Theca & Cloud” and the “Blade”.

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What is the physical architectural translation of these conceptual elements?

  • The Basement: as its name suggest, it is the horizontal space that looks like the podium of the other structures.
  • The Theca: it is the container, oriented longitudinally, made of a steel structure and a double glass façade.
  • The Cloud: it is the heart of the project and the most distinctive element, located in the box of the Theca, looking as if it is floating inside the cube. It has a cocoon-like form, made of an advanced fiberglass membrane and flame-retardant silicone.
  • The Blade: it is an independent structure, not touching the Theca& Cloud.

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What are the main functions in each of these elements?

The Basement hosts the main foyer of the building, the information point, as well as the congress and exhibition hall. The Theca & Cloud are used for more large-scale public events, having huge spaces for conferences and exhibitions, and an auditorium.  The Blade houses a 439-room hotel.

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What is the story behind the architectural expression of the project?

This masterpiece was conceived through different layers of thinking and through different stories, rather than one story.  On one side, Massimiliano Fuksas was quite amazed by the tension existent in the clouds in the sky. Their form derives from geometry; yet, they have nothing to do with geometry. It is as if they float with an underlying tension that supports them. On another side, Fuksas wanted his project to embody and capture the tension between the historic center of Rome and the business district or EUR. The baroque aspect of the historic part of the city contrasts with the rational aspect of the business part of the city.

Both of these thinking layers, philosophical and historical, fed into the architectural thinking of the architect, and aspired him to design a rigid glass showcase with a fluid cloud floating in the middle. This cloud wraps exposed steel support beams that are very heavy in nature and gives them a sense of lightness.

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What are the other particularities of this project?

This project is very eco-friendly. A lot of high-tech applications are used within global environmental strategies, such as a natural ventilation system, a rainwater harvesting system, and a photovoltaic panels system.

Overall, I really think Fuksas has presented Rome with a masterpiece, a landmark project that will not go unnoticed for its architectural language, as well as its structural prouesse, and its ecological dimension. Concerns have been raised in regards to the fact that this building is already outdated given that it took nearly 18 years from conception to completion; however, I think great architecture is timeless and that certain buildings transcend the time boundary and remain classics in a world that is moving too fast.

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