PROGRAM: Science museum
TEAM: OCHAP (Valerio Franzone) + Architensions (Alessandro Orsini, Nick Roseboro) + GICO studio (Giovanni Cozzani)
CLIENT: Municipality of Rome    
LOCATION: Rome, Italy
AREA: Indoor 16.534 m2, outdoor 2.200 m2
STATUS: International Design Competition Entry 2023

The design for the new Science Museum in Rome establishes a dialectic relationship with the existing context. Instead of creating a new volume that constitutes a physical and institutional boundary, the project adapts, reuses, and expands the existing spaces familiar and recognizable in the urban fabric. The new museum was conceived as a place for the public, where residents can use its spaces for activities related to neighborhood administration, decision-making, and representation of common values and needs. Together with the MAXXI Museum across the street and the Church backyard, used in the summer for movie projections, the new Science Museum is an addition of public space rather than another institutional presence that wants to control its interior and surrounding spaces. The project is an urban structure designed as a system of solids and voids that integrate the museum functions with the existing public space and green spaces of the Flaminio neighborhood, retaining 80% of the existing structures. A series of formally defined objects, such as three buildings that protrude from the current roof and the volumes contained under it, and a system of covered and uncovered "piazzas," house the museum functions, favoring their different degrees of public and private use. This strategy guarantees a well-defined functional division of the spaces and their flexibility of use, encourages their fluid and continuous use, and ensures an adequate functioning of the exhibition structure.
The project's environmental focus is carried out through different strategies related to its functionality, morphology, and construction:
  • Considering Rome's annual average temperatures and the current global warming—and as a critique to the brief—the project is not provided with a 2000 m2 greenhouse square, which would become an air fryer or an expensive climatically controlled place. 
  • The new load-bearing structures are made with mass timber.
  • Solar panels produce electric energy.
  • Green roofs shield solar radiation, optimize indoor microclimate, reduce energy consumption, and increase the building lifespan by reducing thermal shocks. They also reduce noise pollution, environmental temperature at an urban scale, and air pollution and improve urban biodiversity.
  • A rainwater collecting system reduces water consumption and the speed of rainwater outflow, benefiting the sewage system.