19 giugno 2014

academy of Denmark

It almost seems like a provocation, especially if written in a blog like this, entitled Where is the Italian architecture, but it is the truth; one of the most beautiful contemporary buildings of Rome, and with contemporary I mean built ​​in the last 50-70 years, was designed by a Danish architect. 
It is not an ordinary building, but the Academy of Denmark, a gift from the Carlsberg Foundation, built on the design by architect Kay Fisker between 1962 and 1967 in the area of Valle Giulia near the pond of Villa Borghese, the National Gallery of Modern Art and the main Faculty of Architecture.  

Images from the folding of the Academy
In the website of the Academy you can also find photos of the inauguration, which took place with solemn ceremony on October 24, 1967 that I picked up and repeated below, for the record, but above all to realize how the world has changed in these "few" years, which is quite evident both from clothing of the people and from the way of designing and constructing buildings...

The inauguration of the Academy
Irene De Guttry in his guide to the architecture of modern Rome has included the building just in the index between the works of Luciano Rubino, then cited as a co-designer, while Piero Ostilio  Rossi rightly devoted it a report in which however doesn’t make any mention of Rubino’s participation to the project. Even the interesting site archidiap has a web page dedicated to the building, with drawings and photos.

Images from archidiap and from the Guide of Rome by P.O.Rossi
I got to enter the Academy on the occasion of a concert by a group of young classical musicians from Denmark, which was held in the small and elegant auditorium, located under the main courtyard on the lowest floor of the building, characterized by the white of the walls and the equipped ceiling and by the beautiful wooden floor.
It can be reached directly from the first ramp of the long external stairway and once inside you have in front a small courtyard with a contemporary sculpture in travertine and on the right the entrance to the corridor of distribution, that lead through the building to an elongated patio onto which all the rooms of the lower level.

External common areas
The interior as well is characterized by the richness of materials, bricks for the coating, wooden for doors and window frames, and of architectural details that demonstrate a particular attention to the project and an uncommon sensitivity. 
The building, despite its solidity given by the geometric purity of the volumes and by the use rather extensive of a material "heavy" as the brick is, has an articulation that makes it lighter and full of different and fragmented perspectives.

General views of the building from Via Omero
It consists of three main blocks of different sizes and heights, placed in a non-symmetrical way around a courtyard, much elevated above the street level, which is accessed via a long staircase "z" shaped, consisting of three flights.
The scandinavian lesson is quite evident both in the importance given to the creation of outdoor areas and in the attention to the use of natural materials and colors, always in harmony with the green, key to the overall quality of the building.

Details of brick cladding and paving
The beautiful staircase leading to the main courtyard, almost entirely covered and paved with bricks, besides leading slowly towards the center of the building, it offers a remarkable overview of the surroundings, the nearby Academies of Sweden and Romania to the whole complex of Valle Giulia and above the lush greenery you can see the Pompeian red of the Faculty of Architecture designed by Del Debbio and located just in front.

The views from the external stairway
The Academy of Denmark is right at the bottom of Via Omero, a small street almost in altitude with the pond of Villa Borghese, that maybe we can call the street of the Academies, because walking along it you meet one after the other with the Egyptian, the Dutch, the Belgian, the Romanian and Swedish.
On the other side of the depression where  Viale delle Belle Arti runs, there are the British School and the Japanese Institute of Via Gramsci, while a little 'off in the last part of Viale Bruno Buozzi we can find the Austrian Institute.

The area of Valle Giulia and the Academy of Denmark from Google Maps
This area is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in Rome and if I were a tourist, that actually I am even if I was born and have always lived here, I certainly would put it in my favorite routes, because it’s not possible to miss a walk in an area full of greenery between Villa Giulia, Villa Borghese and the National Gallery of Modern Art.

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