OMA’s design proves fruitful

Samy Mansour
Sunday 06 Jul 2008

OMA due to redevelop the colossal Ex General Markets Complex in Rome

In 2004 Rem Koolhaas and Ellen van Loon from the Office for Metropolitan Architecture where the winners of the competition to redesign the Mercati Generali, a mammoth structure where one of Rome’s biggest fruit and vegetable markets has resided for decades. The 87, 000 sq m site on the Via Ostiense offers a strategic location on the fringe of the familiar Rome, only a few blocks from the ancient city walls.

Working with a historical site, almost a given in Rome, implies abiding to strict rules of intervention that are heavily prescriptive and severely limit the implantation of the new. As OMA discovered, in the case of the Ex Mercati Generali the task becomes more so challenging given the relative youth of the structure (by Roman standards): built from the early to mid 1900’s, in its current state of ‘limited’ decay with ‘substantial’ historical documentation, the site poses the challenge of practicing an industrial archaeology of great meticulousness offering minimal leeway.

In its current plan the redevelopment will comprise of a theatre, cinema, restaurants, a central market plaza and retail spaces.

OMA are in the process of re-designing aspects of the project and renderings are expected to be unveiled soon. Local expectations are high and the project has already been dubbed “the city of youth”.

Key Facts:

Civic Buildings Commercial Retail

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