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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Ara Pacis Museum

Ara Pacis Museum controversy quiet for now
In early May, the Italian publication La Repubblica and Reuters, reported that the Ara Pacis Museum, completed in 2006 by noted American architect Richard Meier, was in danger of being demolished or relocated to a suburban site.

Rome’s newly elected Mayor, Gianni Alemmano announced at a news conference in which he outlined his plans for Rome that “Meiers building is a construction to be scrapped.” Alemanno, later told TV audiences on the popular Italian show “Porta a Porta” that he would be holding a citywide referendum to allow Roman citizens to decide the fate of the Museum, the only modern structure built in the historical city center since Mussolini’s time and reportedly the third most visited site in Rome. According to the Mayor “It is an issue of compatibility: the [building] is in a baroque part of the city, and that style suits the area. It is not a priority, but I think that some interventions were excessively invasive”.

Mary Lou Bunn, a communications spokesperson for Richard Meier’s office said, “things have been quiet” (since the announcement was made). She added that Meier “is willing to talk to the Mayor” about the matter and that “people at the firm are very attached to the project.” Ms. Bunn said that the Italian daily, the Corriere della Sera, had polled its readers about the matter with the results being that somewhere near 70% of respondents want the building to stay.

The Ara Pacis Museum was created as “fitting and secure housing for the Ara Pacis”, a sacrificial altar dating back to 9BC.

Sharon McHugh

architecture NOW

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