Jubilee Church

Piazza Largo Terzo Millennio, 8, Roma, Italy

The Jubilee Church (La Chiesa del Dio Padre Misericordioso), conceived as part of Pope John Paul II’s millennium initiative to rejuvenate parish life within Italy, is located outside central Rome. The triangular site is articulated three ways: first, dividing the sacred realm to the south, where the nave is located, from the secular precinct to the north; second, separating the approach on foot from the housing situated in the east; and third, again separating the approach on foot, from the parking lot situated to the west.

The paved sagrato to the east of the church extends into the heart of the housing complex and provides an open plaza for public assembly. The northern half of the site is divided into two courts: the eastern one is below ground by a full story, providing light and access to the lowest floor of the community center.

The proportional structure of the entire complex is based on a series of squares and four circles. Three circles of equal radius generate the profiles of the three concrete shells that, together with the spine-wall, make up the body of the nave. Glazed skylights suspended between the shells are lit by zenithal sidelight, and the nave is enlivened by a constantly changing pattern of light and shade. The light is diffused over the inner volume of the church and varies according to the hour, the weather, and the season, imparting a particular character to the aspects of the interior.

Museo dell’Ara Pacis

Lungotevere in Augusta corner to via Tomacelli, Rome, Italy

Museum of the Ara Pacis is situated on the bank of the Tiber River, located on the western edge of the Piazza Augusto Imperatore. It is designed as a renewed space by architect Richard Meier to house the Ara Pacis, a sacrificial altar dating to 9 B.C.

The structure consists of a long, single-story glazed loggia elevated above a shallow podium providing a transparent barrier between the embankment of the Tiber and the existing circular perimeter of the mausoleum of Augustus, built circa 28 B.C. The clarity of the volumes and the building’s proportions relate in scale to Rome’s ancient structures. A predominating feature of the new building is a glass curtain wall measuring 150 feet long and 40 feet high. The asymmetrical entry hall, defined by seven slender columns in reinforced concrete finished with white waxed marble plaster, leads to the main hall, which houses the Ara Pacis. The contrast between the subdued lighting of the entrance space and the expansive top-lit and rigorously symmetrical main hall encourages a naturally progressive circulation. The roof over the main hall rests on four columns with skylights to maximize natural lighting and to eliminate “false shadows.” Outside the main structure, a low travertine wall extending from within the main hall traces the ancient shore of the Tiber River. The travertine comes from the same quarry as the stone that was used to build the Piazza of the Emperor Augustus in the Thirties.  

Although housing and protecting the ancient altar was the main focus of this museum, the building also provides space for temporary exhibitions and installations dedicated to archaeological themes and a state-of-the-art digital library of Augustan culture. An outdoor roof terrace above the auditorium functions as an essential part of the circulation of the museum and includes a contiguous bar and café with views over the Mausoleum of Augustus to the east and the Tiber River to the west.