Friday, 15 May 2009

Trajan's Market Theatre

This final project developed out of an earlier small intervention project – in which the natural ‘auditorium’ of the Spanish steps was given a stage. This led to studies of theatricality throughout Rome, spaces that can be transformed, rigorous investigations of existing buildings, and research into the history of theatres, ancient and modern. In contrast to the initial intervention project, Trajan’s market seemed to provide the stage; the auditorium was to be created out of the existing surrounding buildings.

Trajan's market is located in central Rome, amidst the ancient fora, just outside Trajan's historic Forum. Despite its enormous scale and imposing building mass as a single entity, it is dwarfed by the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II just nearby.

This project aims to reinvigorate Trajan's market as a vibrant, bustling centre for culture, hosting a diverse range of functions throughout the year - changing art exhibitions, lunchtime music recitals, small scale promenade theatre, an outdoor cinema, large opera productions, rock concerts, and many more.

The building will also continue to act as a museum, displaying the archaeological artifacts found on site and highlighting the building elements themselves as worthy exhibits. In highlighting the often unnoticed details, the approach to the building seeks to continue this theme of revealing processes, turning the theatre aspect on its head, revealing some of the mystery and magic of theatre to the audience - allowing them to catch glimpses into props and costume making workshops, set building and rehearsal studios as they journey through the building's spaces.

The re-use of this building also incorporates the re-opening of the Via Biberatica, which runs through the centre of the market. New shops will line the shady street, encouraging a wider use by a larger variety of people.

With a view to making this site more accessible to the public generally, improving the circulation and encouraging routes through the building are key issues. While much of the intervention with the building is 'light touch' in manner, the approach to circulation is stronger, making visual links between levels of the building from its exterior. Using new circulation routes will also help preserve the existing structure, reducing footfall on the worn historic fabric, and encourage people to look again, and in a different way at the ancient building around them.

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