New Rome /EUR convention Hall and Hotel ‘the Cloud’

 by Massimiliano Fuksas / Roma, Italy

 

New Rome /EUR convention Hall and Hotel ‘the Cloud’ 

Italian architecture practice Studio Fuksas has completed the largest building in Rome in over 50 years. Opening to the public in October 2016, the New Rome /EUR Convention Hall and Hotel ‘the Cloud’ is a €239 million earthquake proof complex that has taken 18 years of planning and construction. It will host auditoriums, exhibition spaces and a hotel - amassing 55,000 square metres in new public space. Through both trade and tourism, the convention centre is expected to bring in between 300 - 400 million euros annually to the city of Rome. Located south of the city’s core, in the business district of EUR, the complex follows the simple orthogonal lines of the surrounding 1930s rationalist architecture. The spaces surrounding the centre will serve as two public squares. Integral to the new complex and the neighbourhood, these new spaces will provide citizens with places for various leisure and outdoor activities, offering a new meeting area in this busy part of Rome.

        

The New Rome/EUR Convention Hall and Hotel ‘the Cloud’ comprises three distinct architectural concepts: the basement, the ‘Theca’ and ‘Cloud’, and the ‘Blade’.

The basement is accessed on Viale Cristoforo Colombo, via a staircase that leads into the building’s main foyer and information point. Past this area, a large concourse feeds into an expansive congress and exhibition hall that can host up to 6000 people.

The ‘Theca’ is the stunning outershell and façade of the convention Hall and Hotel, which has been made from a combination of metal, glass and re-enforced concrete. Inside the building, 7,800 square metres of new public space will play host to public and private conferences, exhibitions and large-scale events. Suspended inside the ‘Theca’ is the ‘Cloud’ - the interplay between these two spaces is essential to the complex – symbolising the connection between the city of Rome and the convention centre. The ‘Cloud’ is an independent cocoon-like structure that is covered in 15,000 square metres of highly advanced membrane fiber glass and flame-retardant silicone and is supported laterally at points by the ‘Theca’. It lies at the heart of the complex and is accessed by the ‘Forum’ – an artery walkway that fuses the two structures together. Inside the ‘Cloud’, five levels (supported by escalators and walkways) lead to a 1,800 capacity auditorium. In order to ensure that the ‘Cloud’ system does not interfere with the rest of the complex, the auditorium is clad in wooden cherry panels.

The final architectural concept is the ‘Blade’ - an autonomous building split into 17 floors and containing a new 439-room hotel built to provide accommodation to visitors to the centre and the city of Rome. Spread over 18,000 square metres, the ‘Blade’ will also include seven boutique suites, a spa and a restaurant.

The building has been constructed from 37,000 tons of steel- the equivalent weight of four and a half Eiffel Towers. Additionally, 58,000 metres of glass has been used for the centre’s exterior and interior design, which is enough to cover the surface of 10 football pitches.

The centre is fully earthquake-proofed - the stiffness of its vertical structure is able to withstand both small and large seismic waves.

      

In addition, the building’s insulators have a horizontal rigidity, which works against the movements of small earthquakes, whilst their low rigidity enables large oscillations with low accelerations during more violent tremors.

An eco-friendly approach underscores the design of the centre, with integrated air- conditioning that will be carried out by a reversible heat pump. This system is capable of achieving high energy performances whilst reducing electricity consumption. A natural ventilation system is also in place - with the cool water of the nearby EUR lake extracted and filtered into the system. The roof's photovoltaic panels(glass and silicon wafer)help to produce energy and protects the building from overheating through the mitigation of solar radiation.

When fully operational, the basic power load of the New Rome /EUR convention Hall and Hotel ‘the Cloud’ will be supplied by the power station of cogeneration as well as any power generated by the buildings’ geothermal and photovoltaic network. The mutual interdependence of these systems ensures that the complex is able to function in any instances of a technical failure.

The centre’s eco features also comprise a rain water harvesting system, where exterior panels collect rainwater and filter it into a storage tank. The water can then be pumped, on demand, from the tank to the internal water system.

Fuksas’ design for the complex was created with flexibility in mind –spaces are interchangeable and can be amended to accommodate large or small conferences, lectures and events with a maximum seating allowance of nearly 8,000 seats, divided between the auditorium inside the ‘Cloud’, (1,800 capacity), and large conference rooms in the basement (6,000 seats). The underground level of the building also has more than 600-place parking area.

Many of the complex’s Interior details have also been realised by Studio Fuksas. In the Auditorium, the red armchairs have been made by Poltrona Frau and specially designed by Fuksas architects. The building’s bespoke ‘Cloud’ lamp has been produced by iGuzzini and conceived by the studio. An official inauguration ceremony will take place on 29 October, marking the New Rome /EUR convention Hall and Hotel ‘the Cloud’ as a new integral landmark in Rome’s architectural fabric.

Key dates

Competition (1st phase): November 1998 Preliminary

 Project: July 2001


Definitive project: February 2004

Executive project: March 2007

First stone: 11 December 2007

 Works start: March 2008


Theca structure: May-June 2010 Cloud

Structure: February2012

Opening: October, 2016

Project: New Rome /EUR convention Hall and Hotel ‘the Cloud’

Site: Rome-Eur, Italy


Address: At the corner of via C. Colombo and viale Asia


Period: 1998-2016

Client: Eur SpA

Architects: Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas


Interior design: Fuksas Design

General contractor: Società Italiana per Condotte d’Acqua SpA

Built surface: 55,000 sq. m.
Engineering: Plans: A. I.

Engineering, Torino


Structures: Studio Majowiecki; Studio Sarti


Safety: Studio Sarti


Acoustics: XU – Acoustique, Parigi, A.I. Engineering, Torino

Lighting consulting: Speirs& Major Associates, Edinburgh, London

Theca

Structure: metallic and reinforced concrete

Dimensions:


Height: 39 m (from the underground level 48 mt)

width: 70 m

length: 175 m


Outer and transversal façades: stratified extra-bright glass and stratified lamellar extra- bright glass


Inner façades: double gazing with solar factor cellular system and double gazing with solar factor REI cellular sys


Outer façades: 16,075 sq.m.


Outer longitudinal façades: 13,880 sq.m. (6,9420x2)


Outer transversal façades: 2,195 sq.m. (1,301 via Colombo and 894 viale Shakespeare)

Roof (11,000 sq.m.): glass with solar factor and 3,000 sq.m. panels with monocrystal line photovoltaics


Inner flooring: travertine


Forum: 7,500 sq.m. (public square)

Cloud

Structure: metallic


Coating: microperforated Atex® 2000 TRL sheet


Flooring: industrial parquet


Auditorium: 1,800 seats, seat "Carla" for Poltrona Frau designed by Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas


Bar and foyer: 450 sq.m.

Blade (hotel)

Hotel –hall – restaurant 2,600 sq.m.

Hotel: 18,000 sq.m.
 439 rooms, including 7 suites, 1 spa

Height: 55 mt

Structure: metallic and reinforced concrete


Façades: black double glazing (grey + Energy N) with solar factor, high energetical performance

Underground level

Congress space: 7,800 sq.m. (6,000 seats)


Meeting rooms: 600 sq.m. (4 meeting rooms, 100 seats each)


Offices: 1,100 sq.m.


Storage rooms: 3,470 sq.m.


Concourse: 4.200 sq.m.


Parking: 20,100 sq.m. (615 places)


Lamps: "Cloud" for iGuzzini designed by Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas

Congress Centre Restaurant: 700 sq.m.


Main access square: 1,600 sq.m.

Costs

Initial Cost Estimate: € 276.000.000 (year: 2007)

Final Cost: € 239.000.000 (October 2016)

The completion of the Centre represents 18 years of work for Fuksas–having won an international architectural competition held in 1998 by the Municipality of Rome, with Eur S.p.A. Fuksas’ design was selected by a highly qualified jury of international peers chaired by Lord Norman Foster.

Photographs: Leonardo Finotti, Moreno Maggi