Rome – When Rome-based Westway Architects began designing a new headquarters for an Italian construction company in a small, early twentieth-century villa, they had a specific goal in mind: bring it back to its original state, in order to enhance and re-read the past. Little did they know, their work would far retract beyond revisiting 1902.
At the beginning of the project, the practice studied the historical evolution of the building and the urban fabric in which it’s situated – the villa’s home is Nomentano, a residential suburb of Rome that housed the new bourgeois class at the turn of the 19th century. To merge respectfully into the area, the Westway team began work subtracting volumes of the residence, in order to restore the original dimensions and recover the hidden basement for increased access.
What’s a team of architects to do? They decided to include the ruins in the headquarters, of course
But there’s a reason why the surprise-in-the-basement trope is so popular in horror movies: you never know what you might find down there in old houses. In this case, it’s a ghost story of sorts – that is, with third-century Roman ruins uncovered by archaeologists.
What’s a team of architects to do? They decided to include the ruins in the headquarters, of course. Ironically, the remains were that of a domus, a type of house that would have been occupied by the upper classes in the major cities of the Roman Empire. The project, thus, became a representation of more than two millennia.