Function: theater, restaurant, café, park

Location: Genazzano (Italy)

Year: 2023

Type: international competition

In collaboration with Zsófia Miklós

The Nymphaeum in Genazzano can be approached from a quiet street in the small town. The historic city center is in a visible distance, but the location is still close to the Piazza della Republica, from where the green area is also accessible. The ruin, due to its former function, turns his back to the street and faces to the park. Its hiddenness is further enhanced by the fact that one has to overcome a marked difference in level from the street to get to the ruin. The project tries to respond to this situation.

The area behind the ruin is currently the least quality green area in the park, therefore the location of volume the theater here is justified. In addition to the choice of location, it is also said that this point is the main access direction to the park and will be the gate of the park in the future. The area’s basically romantic garden character is preserved, and perhaps even strengthened in some points. Above the abstract underground spaces of the theater, an arbor garden will be created, which, together with the park, primarily serves the relaxation of the local residents. The existing steps to the south of the ruin are remained and would continue to lead to the same place as before: to the foot of the ruin, to the park. A new steps were placed to the north of the ruin, and they are also volume of the theater, which reveal the large, circular space in front of the theater, but also lead to the green area. The atmosphere of the circular square in front of the theater is half paved and half green: the square becomes the center of the place instead of the fact that the ruin turns its back on it without any openings. The large empty wall of the ruin is always visible from the new interior and exterior spaces of the building: there is a continuous communication with the Nymphaeum from the new spaces.

The functional program of the building was based on the principle that the ruin should be kept in its original form, its current state should be conserved and completed where it is possible. Both the interior and exterior spaces of the ruin can be easily explored, as a public function has been included that is available to both theater and park visitors: a restaurant and bar which bring life to the park.

The new, underground spaces of the theater reflect the historical location: the vaulted spaces are also justified by their underground nature, but at the same time they evoke the former atmosphere of the Nymphaeum. The new extension, with its pragmatic use of materials (concrete and wavy metall sheet), clearly separates itself from the basically traditional, romantic materials (stone). With this solution, the difference between the old and the new becomes clearly legible and the balance is restored.

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