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Iceberg - Perestrello 3.0


How to name a square: on the transformation of a suspended space.

"Wait, I was wrong, the square doesn't have a name. We call it Bartolomeo Perestrello square because that’s Bartolomeo Perestrello street", warns the man in the barber's shop. The video made by the Roman architecture studio Orizzontale begins with a problem of identification: how should we call the square in Marranella area that nobody - nor the City nor other institutions - bothered to dedicate to somebody? And, before that, what's make an urban free space a square?

Lying on top of a two stories parking garage, Largo (or Piazza) Perestrello "isn't a real square, at least superficially": this suspended place is the largest urban void / free space inside "Municipio V" in Rome. It's currently a large area, suitable for the most varied uses, but yet empty due to never-completed urban transformations. Even if it's filled with people at any time of the day, Perestrello square seems to lack a definitive transformation which will enable the area to become a shared space by all the citizens. Orizzontale, spotting its great potential, wanted to work on the theme of identity as a challenge and a work objective to rethink the square and the neighborhood too. "The Iceberg metaphor is a reflection about the neighborhood's invisible resources, submerged realities, and development potential, starting from the recognition of what is present and trying to bring out local energies" comments Orizzontale.

"Iceberg - Perestrello 3.0" continues the work started with Le Orecchie di Giussano, Luogo Comune - Perestello 1.0 - Work-Watching and Luogo Comune - Perestrello 2.0 (featured on The Architecture Player), different interventions by Orizzontale on the area and it’s the first phase of an urban reactivation process developed together with NOEO and Itinerant Office within the fourth edition of "New Generations - Architects vs. the Rest of the World" festival. For four days, from September 18 to September 22, 2017, the square became an urban laboratory: associations, citizenship, students, and professionals from architecture, design, art, and psychology fields met to debate about its future.

The goal of this workshop was to form an urban designed system and being the first infrastructure to foster communities gathering and aggregation in the area. The goal was reached by using two temporary architecture elements (a table and a bleacher), built with twenty students and made of solid wood with variable sections and linked one to the other thanks to a floor graphic developed inside the construction workshop and made by a public space ground signage company. The bleacher is the iceberg of the title and it is meant to become an object that can be enjoyed daily by users and also for organized activities, as meeting venues for discussions, small events, and moments of collective socialization. It's an iceberg on a wider sense: it is just the most evident intervention, but the process started with Orizzontale isn't limited only to Largo Perestrello; a working table with local associations that joined the initiative has been set up, in order for the intervention to continue and to become a flywheel for local community development. The associations represent a resource and a valuable interlocutor for monitoring and managing the infrastructures through activities that test the square program while keeping it active.

The video features the construction of the two architectonic elements and a long series of interviews: to associations active on the ground such as Asinitas, to citizens, such as a florist and a grocer, to Alice nel paese della Marranella, and more. It starts with a recollection of images from the area, with its bridges, its maritime pines, its people and tells a story of transformation in an eternal city.

(Story by Sara Marzullo, The Architecture Player)


Mentioned project: Iceberg : Perestrello 3.0 (2017)
Project location: Largo Bartolomeo Perestrello, Roma, Italy
Video footage: Melania Cacucci
Video editing: Lea Dicursi
Music: Lorenzo Tomio

Italy 2017
Duration: 6'