By Mario Pisani
Rome is overflowing with amazing sights but one of their more recent tourist hotspots is ‘WHATAMI’ -last year’s winner of the first annual YAP_MAXXI Young Architects Program. The program sees the museum’s external spaces transformed into a garden of green islands that will host the summer season events, thanks to the ‘Whatami’ project, conceived by the Rome-based studio stARTT
‘Whatami’ is the corruption of “What am I”, the industrial declination of the first puzzle invented in the XVIII century for fun-learning by John Spilsbury, it could be dismounted along the geographic boundaries; a tribute to the maps of Alighiero Boetti, which is dedicated to the square of the MAXXI.
The concept is based on the manufacturing of an artificial archipelago- a hill, serving as a connective tissue with its landscape. The hill works as a garden, injecting “green” into the concrete plateau of the museum’s outdoor space, allowing it to serve as a stage and/or parterre for concerts and other events in the summer, or as a space to rest and look at the museum itself.
The central island is fixed and around two meters high, while the seven smaller islands are mounted on wheels. This landscape is mobile and illuminated at night by 18 five-meter tall glass fiber flowers that instead cast pools of shade by day.
A running water feature completes the installation that is as attractive as it is attentive to environmental issues: it in fact involves a recycling process: at the end of the season, the hills realized with prevalently reusable materials (straw, geotextile membranes, plastic) will be dismantled and donated to the municipality to be used again, together with the flowers, by the local district.
The moving object leaned on the playground of the same square of Museum: fragments of natural, comfortable open air spaces to relax and meet people. The result is a dreamscape made of geographic lines floating on a sea of solid white cement. The project goal is not to inspire an abstract form of nostalgia, but to bet on the proposal of a hybrid landscape, able to measure the most surreal aspect of contemporary life without sacrificing the quality of the environment and space for the free time.
stARTT is an architectural and urban transformations that was incorporated in February 2008 from an idea by Simone Capra (1978) and Claudio Castaldo (1978). Their work points to man-made changes in the environment: landscape, territory, city, urban design, public works, private architectures.