The parking is in the city center of Rome and has been built at the end of the 60' in order to solve the problem of the increasing number of cars in the touristic points of the Italian capital. The parking is completely underground and hasn't changed the original topography. The 13.5m square structural grid of concrete umbrella pillars supports the prefabricated domes and a coffered roof. Circular's eyes give rhythm light and air.
During 1974, the parking will be used as expositional space. Achille Bonito Oliva, curator of the exhibition, will use Moretti's building proposing a new use of the city and showing up a new way for the diffusion and development of the culture.
Inverting the sedimentary urban logic in Rome (in which recent layers lay on top of the older ones), the contemporary finds its place beneath the classical: underground, when the recently-finished Villa Borghese parking garage (located below the homonymous museum) hosted the ambitious multidisciplinary project Contemporanea (arte 1973–1955)
Rome is full of museums but none of them seemed appropriate for this adventure. This ambitious project required a more radical (and culturally wider) environment, one that created the possibility of relating to art in a new context. So it was that the Villa parking garage became the set for Contemporanea. Its charismatic architect, Luigi Moretti, was close to the artistic scene.
The intention to use such a location was closely connected to the nature of the project, which aimed to promote a cross-disciplinary approach in which the boundaries between subjects were to be abolished in order to sketch a wide panorama of the contemporary creative scene.
The latter is immediately perceived upon entering the exhibition space, which is left wide open thanks to the perceptive device designed by the architect Piero Sartogo. No pavilions or walls divide the different areas. Instead, the articulation of the visitor’s walk across the sections of the exhibition is structured through the introduction of rows of transversal planes of wire mesh, inserted perpendicular to the main axis of the parking space. The quantity of metal diagrams increases along the way, generating a rhythm of acceleration and deceleration in the opposite directions of the viewing experience. The result is a structure that gives the impression of being ethereal: visible, but that is also traversed by the gaze.
The angle of observation changes it, making it transparent (when observed frontally), solid (when observed diagonally), or a pure line (when observed laterally). The overlapping of the nets produces an effect of “solid air,” whose resistance the viewer must overcome.