CourtyardSlab, corridorSlab, gallery-access
Intervento IACP Housing
Gatti, Ilaria | Rome, Italy | 1994-99
Image of Intervento...
View of the courtyard

ProjectIntervento IACP Housing
ArchitectGatti, Ilaria
Addressvia Trivento/via Venafro
Building TypeCourtyard
Slab, gallery access
Number of Dwellings99
Date Built1994-99
Dwelling Typesflats
No. Floors3
Section Typeflats
Exterior Finish
brick, metal, concrete
Construction TypeR-C frame, brick walls, metal grilles, windows & blinds, and balustrades
Ancillary Servicesnone

This modest group of 99 apartments replaced some older buildings of an earlier borgata, Santa Maria del Soccorso, which had survived at the edge of a district of 6 story residential slabs built along Via Trivento, on the eastern side of the cityin the Tiburtina district. An important feature of the site was the pineta of pine trees on the site and the long U-shaped courtyard building was literally built around the trees. Parking is provided in an open lot at the south end of the site and the trees provide a screened edge between the courtyard and the parking. The four story, point access buildings set back from the sidewalks on the two long sides and back up to existing buildings along the north edge. The section reveals the essential organization of the building. There is a 4-meter slope across the site from the upper street to via Trivento along the lower edge. A narrow loggia at the ground floor runs along the outside edge of the long sides of the "U". This gallery provides access to the ground floor apartments and the lobbies for the dwellings above, each serving 2 flats per floor. Ramps and narrow bridges connect from the perimeter sidewalks to the gallery through a zone of walled gardens. While there is limited privacy for the ground floor dwellings along the gallery, they open to gardens defined by low walls on the interior of the block that are more private. Grilled brick walls along the gallery provide some security and privacy for the ground floor apartments.

Unlike the other housing in the neighborhood, the exterior walls of Intervento are brick. The concrete structural frame is apparent from the columns in the open gallery and from the organization of the facades, but brick is the dominant material The walls along the courtyard face east and west and are very planer with deep openings; small windows and ell-shaped balcony openings with metal balustrades. The long sides of the complex are 4 stories high, however, the top floor which is detailed as a deep cornice on the street façade, has a continuous roof terrace along the garden façade that is just three floor high. The block of apartments that encloses the north side of the courtyard is also 4 floors high: three floors of flats, raised above a partially open portico. The street facades by contrast are very active and sculptural with a variety of windows, full-height openings, and both recessed and cantilevered balconies that are alternating semicircular and rectangular and arranged in vertical zones. The semicircular balconies align vertically and have the appearance of turrets, but turrets that are ambiguously suspended in space above the continuous void of the gallery. The manipulation of the several layers of the surface of the outer walls recalls similar techniques in the early housing designs of James Gowan and James Stirling and more recent projects by Herman Hertzberger; exaggerated moves to express depth and the use of curved surfaces as counterpoint to the relentless planer quality of brick walls.

The low density and courtyard form of Intervento, especially as it compares to the typical 6 story residential slabs in the neighborhood, reflects changing attitudes by Istituti Autonomi Case Popolari about both density and site planning. The attempt to achieve reasonable density in low-rise buildings mandates that the ground floor is used for dwellings. Even with the gardens to each side of the buildings, the use of exterior steel fences, gated passageways to the galleries, the protective brick grilles along the gallery, and the aftermarket security grilles on many widows indicat that security and privacy are still problems for ground floor residents. Interventa should improve with age as the landscape of the central courtyard develops and residents take over the landscaping of the walled garden plots.

Rossi, Piero Ostsilio, Rome, Guida all'architettura moderna 1909-2000. Editori Laterza, Rome, 2000, p. 370.

Controspazio. no. 2, marzo-aprile, 1996.

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