Casseta Mattei, Rome
Casseta Mattei, Rome - multi-level covered street on a hillside
The central architectural concept is that the main internal public spaces are created by separating a triangular segment on the north side from the main triangular form of the building. This creates a vertical 'covered street' down from the car park levels, through the main shopping levels, to the hypermarket level below.
The objective is to create a simple and elegant space with clear orientation at all levels. Conventional shopping malls are usually symmetrical tunnels carved out of a monolithic building, which can easily become introverted and confusing in a multi-level environment.
The architectural design flows directly from the implications of the 'covered street' in the gap between two building forms. The main ideas are:
- The customer enters at one end of the street, via escalators, and strolls along the street, at either the upper or middle shopping levels, towards the hypermarket. From the hypermarket they return, through a tall travelator atrium behind a glass wall.
- When using one of the shopping levels there is clear visibility to many of the shops on the other level.
- Where possible, the elements that cross the street, such as the glass roof and etched-glass bridges are very minimalist in appearance to allow the space to flow vertically up to the sky.
- There are two street cafes, one at the top level above the travelators and one at the elbow of the L-shaped street, to allow customers to pause, relax and be refreshed.
- The architecture of the buildings on each side of the street is not the same and the section of the walkways varies. The architectural treatment flows from the outside to the inside - re-enforcing the integrity of the major and minor triangular forms.
- To enhance the sense of place and to break away from the rigidity of the structural grid, there are - curvilinear elements at the upper entrance and at the junction of the elbow. The sensuous forms and reflective titanium cladding, incorporating special lighting effects, creates a more memorable experience at these key locations.