Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Getting Kicked Out of Buildings

Photo of the Day: Palazzetto dello Sport (Pier Luigi Nervi, 1958)

If you are an architecture student, or even just a casual admirer of the art of architecture, it is important to occasionally get kicked out of a building. Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating for illegal or deviant behavior, but sometimes, you just have to go see a space – even when you know that you are probably not supposed to be there…..

Our journey to find the palazzetto dello sport in Rome, by engineer/ architect Pier Luigi Nervi was kind of like this. Nervi was known for his revolutionary use of reinforced and precast concrete. His palazzetto dello sport, which was built in 1958 for the 1960 Rome Olympic Games is one of his masterpieces, featuring a domed structure that was constructed largely out of prefabricated concrete pieces. We ventured to this building knowing full well that we would not be able to see the interior of the space, including the underside of his spectacular ribbed dome. Since the structure is still a functioning sports pavilion / stadium, I knew that unless we were going to see an event and had a ticket, that most likely we would only be able to admire this structure from the exterior. Even with this knowledge we still deemed that finding this building was worth the effort. (involving several trains and a torrential downpour)

When our group arrived at the building, however, we noticed that one of the doors had been propped open. It seemed like there was some work being done on the interior, setup work for an upcoming event, and the workers had left one of the entrance doors slightly open. Of course, being architects and students, we went right in (I mean, the door was open – like they were expecting us or something).  As you might guess, it didn’t take long for the security guards to promptly shoo us away, but we were there just long enough to get this rare shot of the underside of Nervi’s magnificent structure.
Like my father always says, “ask for forgiveness, not for permission”. And don’t be afraid to get kicked out of buildings from time to time.

The COD group, braving the rain and the security guards

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