Adresse: Lungotevere in Augusta, 00100 Roma
The Ara Pacis consists of a rectangular enclosure containing the true altar. The most significant scene in the decoration is the one featuring Augustus, Agrippa, Julius and Tiberius.
One of the walls bears bronze letters stating Augustus’ testament, known to historians as “Res Gestae”. Sealing the Ara in a marble case designed by architect Vittorio Ballio Morpurgo in 1938 failed to save it from decay - hence the decision to put it in a museum.
Richard Meier’s project preserves the Ara Pacis Museum large- ly unaltered, surrounding it in a permeable, transparent case. Whether or not one agrees with the principle of creating this con- temporary ‘skin’ around the monument, the attraction of Richard Meier’s project lies in its lightness and alternation of open and closed areas while remaining “permeable”.
Glass and travertine are the key materials in this highly linear building right in the historical centre of Rome, on the western side of Piazza Augusto Imperatore, parallel to the Tiber.
The structure, which measures about 4,200 m2, is divided into three functional areas (the museum, multimedia halls and offices) on several levels, adapting to the morphology of the site.
A large staircase takes visitors to a hall lit up from the side and from above and then to a dark gallery set up as a didactic mu- seum route with panels, models and portraits. This takes visitors to the case in which the Ara stands with the Res Gestae tablets.
In the central pavilion, the Ara Pacis is flooded with light from the skylights and filtering glass during the day. This solution required assembly of more than 1500 m2 of tempered glass plates mea- suring up to three by five metres, ensuring that the pavilion does not feel enclosed and guaranteeing maximum visibility.Travertine marks the entire perimeter of the building and the two terraces, one of which will be planted with a garden.
The museum is completed by a 150 seat conference room, a museum-shop and an underground office area. (www.floornature.com)