Florence, Italy

Rome Art and Language School

Florence, Italy Art Studio 1
Florence, Italy Art Studio 2
Florence, Italy Art Studio 3

For an architecture school project, Portales chief designer, Tobias Hafenecker-Dodge, chose a famous building site in Rome, Italy. Historic rumors of this site being bombed by dictator Benito Mussolini was intriguing to Tobias. The Mussolini bombing of Rome was not for fear or aggression, but instead, as the story goes, for necessity. Mussolini needed a site for a re-urbanization project, and in Rome, there is no available real estate, so the dictator merely created a building site by dropping a bomb. The existing structure on the site was a partially-demolished church which was required to stay on the site for historic reasons. The project demanded that all new design work would have to involve the existing church in some form or another. The final design not only preserved the church but actually integrated it into a functional entryway for the language school. Tobias’s approach was to frame the old church, thereby highlighting the ancient, rather than hiding it inside a new structure. The overarching concept of contrasting the old and the new gave respect to the historic church and the new school, therefore creating coexistence of both styles without creating a conflicting focus. Looking back on the project, Tobias feels this exercise was monumental in the development of his design philosophies of evolution and community.

Design Process

Evolution 1

Evolution 1

Early design sketches for concept and client review

Evolution 2

Evolution 2

Initial 3D exploration model

Evolution 3

Evolution 3

Second phase to aid in details and materials options

Evolution 4

Evolution 4

Fully developed photorealistic 3D model