San Maurizio apartment building

In 1962, Luigi Moretti designed a residential building on the slopes of Monte Mario in Rome.

With this essay originally published in Domus no.428, July 1965, the architect introduced the project on the pages of the magazine.


A bursting movement, from the inside out
The construction rises on the side of Monte Mario looking towards Rome, in an area still undespoiled of its green. (This whole slope affords a view of St. Peter's dome, calling to mind medieval pilgrims who, coming down from Cassia in the north, used these slopes to shorten their way and called Monte Mario Mons-joie, since il was from here that ther first saw the long sought basilica of St. Peter's, amidst great emotion and rejoicing). This work of architecture is an attempt to give shape to a feeling of violent expansion which, from within the structure, tends to move outwards; a charge of energy exploding towards the exterior and its opposite and contradictory forces.
Horizontal volumes, overlapping, disconnected and suspended, are made of a poor material that becomes a rich source of vibration and color (a special large-grained plaster)
Horizontal volumes, overlapping, disconnected and suspended, are made of a poor material that becomes a rich source of vibration and color (a special large-grained plaster)
Some of the more intense example of baroque architeeture (Borromini, St. Ivo) convey this strange sense of an explosion held back in its final shape by the adverse forces of the world; a sense underlying all vital architecture which, insolar as it is such, is always realized by overcoming and breaking up the outer world.
The terraces, horizontal overlapping tub-like forms, visually eliminate the entire vertical wall. The building’s perimeter, which is set back, disappears, revealing  the interior reaching out towards  the exterior.  There is no longer a facade but a continuous curving surface born from free design and not from fixed rules or structural needs
The terraces, horizontal overlapping tub-like forms, visually eliminate the entire vertical wall. The building’s perimeter, which is set back, disappears, revealing the interior reaching out towards the exterior. There is no longer a facade but a continuous curving surface born from free design and not from fixed rules or structural needs
The structure also seeks new modulations to replace the now worn out schemes of prismatic volumes...

The fundamental parameter of this research, of course, is the neeed to provide, for every closable space of a dwelling, ample space outside... and such that owing to differences in form and extension the inner spaces will seem even more typical; and for that matter the inner spaces, a the sliding glass panes show, have been conceived as part of the outer space of the terraces...

The constraction will achieve its fullest expression when all the terraces, once inhabitated, become gardens, whose green and flowers flow down the parapets. When the trees of the lateral hanging gardens have grown and made this architecture, like certain element of old villas, a texture of green and walls. Luigi Moretti
The profiles of the balconies never overlap
The profiles of the balconies never overlap

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