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‘Parco della Musica Auditorium’


lidiya zyskina
client : City of Rome use: multi-functional auditorium complex dedicated to
project: Parco della Musica Auditorium music peformance
architect: Renzo Piano Building Workshop-Renzo Piano, principal; area: 12 acres (site); 82,274 m2 (floor area)
S. Scarabicchi, partner in charge location: Rome, Italy
engineers: Studio Vitone & Associati (structural); Manenes date of completion: 2002
Interecnica (mechanical) cost: US $ 102,000,000

The auditorium complex is situated in the valley betwen the banks of the Tiber and the hill of Parioli. Construction of a building in the
very dense historic center of Rome proved impossible at such a scale. The decentralized site proved advantageous, because spacially it
could accommodate and manage larger crowds than anywhere within the limits of the center. Also, there was already the Olymic Village,
built for the 1960 Games, the Palazzetto della Sport, and the Flamingo Stadium. Renzo Piano was therefore merely “weaving together
what for a long time had been considered an ‘artificial fracture’ in the urban tissue of the city of Rome (a parking lot).”1
The project can be
described as three “music
boxes” that float over a sea
of vegetation. A space has
been left open between
the three buildings that
has become the fourth and
open air concert hall.
Space that is not occupied
by the auditoriums or
site adjacent ancient ruins
and museum has been
absorbed by a park that
went up at the time of
the complex. The parks
vegetation has become the
link between the sparse
vegetation of the Flamingo
district to one side and the
abundant vegetation of
the Villa Glori to the other
The Parco della Musica complex
was conceived with “music in mind,”
as much by the configuration as by
the materials employed. The form
is purely functional, derived from
extensive studies to ensure perfect
sound reverbation. Thirty plus years
working with acoustic professionals
gave Renzo Piano and his team the
knowledge to ultimately achieve this
wonder of an auditorium complex.3


large concert hall: 2,700 seats; intented for symphony concerts

medium concert hall: 1,200 seats; intented to house a large orchestra with choir, ballets, or contemporary music
smallest concert hall: 700 seats; intended to house operas, chamber music, baroque concerts, theatrical performances, and
symphony orchestra concerts
open air ampitheater: 3,000 seats; mulri-use
museum & ruins: a year into excavation the ruins of a Roman villa from the Republican era were discovered. decision was made to
incorporate the ruins into the project with an additional museum didicated to the found artifacts.4
The three “music
boxes” are structurally
sperate bulidings
for maximium
soundproofing. The
adjustable panels for largest concert hall
maximum reverberation has been designed for
ultimate volume quality,
while in the middle
concert hall, this can
be achieved according
to the performance’s
requirements through
an adjustable stage,
ceiling, and seating.
The three planes of
the smallest concert
hall (two side and
one above) that form
the stage can be
completely opened,
flexibility allowing its size to be
modified based upon
Renzo Piano constructed the lead-tile clad roofs on
“arculated gluelam beams, which rise from steel struts
pivoting off the auditoriums’ brick base.” 6


Structure in the auditorium is organized as a series of skins. A lead-tile clad roof wraps a skin of heavy-timber, gluelam beams.
These wooden parts are anchored to steel rods that run diagonal between the two curtains of structure and act as cross-bracing. The
second certain serves also as the interior walling system onto which the acoustic panels are anchored.
To best understand the structure
in Parco della Musica, one must
first understand a previous work
also by Penzo Piano. This is the
Jean-Marie Tibaou Cultural Center
in New Caledonia, off the coast of
Australia. The main structure in this
center is a bow and post system,
reflecting a style similiar to that of
native Melanesian hut. This system
consists of a double, glulam, wood
wall, which act as “upright structural
ribs.” There is little deviation from
this structural system in the Parco
della Musica, which is to come four
years after the center is built.
Cross-bracing between the interior, acoustic walling and the laminated, gluelam beams allows the load to be transferred from the outer
shell to the inner shell, and on to the brick base. Noteworthy is the fact that the entire skin system cantilevers out from the brick base.
The means that a very heavy foundation holds an enitire system in place.
An important detail in the structure is in the use of steel boxes used to fasten the wooden gluelams to the interior walling. At these poins,
the tubes and rods of the cross-bracing system join. Here, the bending stress is in the outer ends and therefore there is no tension or
compression at the middle.

cherry ceiling and wall panals

lead roofing (varies in color from grey to green

according to light and weather)
1-2 Piano, Renzo. Architettura &
Musica. (Milano: Edizioni Lybra
Immagine, 2002) 27.
3 On Tour with Renzo Piano.
(London; New York: Phaidon,
2004) 253.
4-5 Piano, Renzo. Architettura &
Musica. (Milano: Edizioni Lybra
Immagine, 2002) 28.
6 Giovannini, Joseph. “With
Rome, Renzo Piano Sets Out
Transform Frayed
Urban Fabric Into New
“Connective Tissue”
(Architectural Record Oct. 2003)
Giovannini, Joseph. “With the CITY OF MUSIC in Rome, Renzo Piano Sets Out Totransform Frayed
Urban Fabric Into New “Connective Tissue” Architectural Record Oct. 2003: 116-123

Metamorph : 9. International Architecture Exhibition. New York, NY: Rozzoli Intrnational Publications,
Inc., 2004. 62.

On Tour with Renzo Piano. London; New York: Phaidon, 2004.

Piano, Renzo. Architettura & Musica. Milano: Edizioni Lybra Immagine, 2002. 27-29.

Piano, Renzo. On Tour with Renzo Piano. London; New York: Phaidon, 2004. 253.

Pizzi, Emilio. Renzo Piano / Emilio Pizzi. Basel; Boston: BirkhäUser, 2003. 106.

Renzo Piano Building Workshop. HumlebæK, Denmark: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2003. 106.