A Century-Old Roman Palazzo Grows a Faceted Glass-and-Steel Parasite

We’ve talked about top-down demolition—where building are deconstructed one floor at a time, ending at the ground—before. But a newly-completed building in Rome, by Italian studio Fuksas, puts a twist on the concept: The old building’s facade was perfectly preserved.

The Palazzo ex Unione Militare was built in 1901 and once housed the Italian military headquarters. Eventually, the building was sold for retail space—and in 2008, a massive renovation project got underway. Because of its historical importance, Fuksas couldn’t touch the Palazzo's facade; Instead, the firm gutted the interior completely, from roof to basement (check out the great demolition video below). After clearing out nearly 1,000 tons of debris, they built an entirely new steel building inside, wrapped with a gauzy steel-and-glass facade that wraps around the new building and sprouts from the roof.

The project ended up taking five years and $220 million to complete—and sadly, it seems destined to contain an H&M or Benetton. In fact, that’s usually the case with projects like this, since the only clients who can afford such a painstaking construction process are doing it for a very good financial reasons—for reference, see the Hearst Tower, here in New York. [Images by Gianni Basso via DesignBoom]

A Century-Old Roman Palazzo Grows a Faceted Glass-and-Steel Parasite

A Century-Old Roman Palazzo Grows a Faceted Glass-and-Steel Parasite

A Century-Old Roman Palazzo Grows a Faceted Glass-and-Steel Parasite

A Century-Old Roman Palazzo Grows a Faceted Glass-and-Steel Parasite

A Century-Old Roman Palazzo Grows a Faceted Glass-and-Steel Parasite