Monday, June 14, 2010

Ara Pacis

The Ara Pacis or Altar of Peace was commissioned by the Roman senate in 13 BC to commemorate the new era of peace in the Mediterranean during the reign of Emperor Augustus after his victories in Gaul and Spain.
In 1999, American architect, Richard Meier, was commissioned to design a building to hold the newly reconstructed altar on Via di Ripetta beside the Tiber. I must admit that for me it stands out as a poor example of star-architect design in Rome. Nice to have a new building in the city but this one is a rather blunt and bland, white cube that doesn't fit into the surrounding neighbourhood at all.
To be fair, I do rather like the fountain at the bottom of the flight of steps in front of Meier's building. The rivulet running along the wall from the top of the steps is amusing and the fountain itself is usually surrounded by people resting from their aerobic tourism of the city's sights and enjoying the sound and cool provided by the spurting waters.

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