The Glass Dome

Massimilano Fuksas reform for Benetton the former Palace of the Military Union in Rome, introducing a wonderful dome on its deck.

Hi, I know that you believe to know everything about me, it is not in vain, my face is well known in the communications media, my family has been in magazines since the creation of the printing and our friends are everywhere. I created one of these friendships while I lived in one of the family mansions, it located in the glorious and powerful city of Rome.

By then (as a poet would say) I, Rodolfo, was obsessed with the second reading of a book very peculiar and known: Moby Dick. One afternoon, I said a stranger in a fit of anger all what really I thought about the Captain Ahab and the crew of the Pequod, the stranger turned out to be a wonderful architect, the peerless Massimiliano Fuksas, the designer of the project that converge with other material worthy of praise and, therefore, worthy of being part of my constructive travelogue.


The Fifth Stop: The Glass Dome.

All starts when Benetton acquired the former Palace of the military Union in Rome and my friend Massimiliano is hired for reform and rehabilitation of the building. The name have given to the intervention is «The flashlight» since the rehabilitation has been carried out with a structure of steel and glass that it runs through the four floors of the building, from the ground floor up to the terrace, with panoramic view of the dome of the Basilica of San Ambrosio and Carlo al Corso, reason why I have decided to rename it and I call it «The Glass dome», do you like most?


The restoration of the building exterior has been very respectful and has focused on the rescue of the original elements, this give a contemporary touch to construction through the placement of outdoor lighting, this improvement the façade and the aesthetic characteristics. Fuksas has used the white (a bright white as few) as a main color in the interior and which serves as the enhancement of the decoration based on «bubbles» of different sizes and colors from violet to the reddish tones. There is a display of imagination and talent on tables, desks, puf, exhibitors, inside mirrors ovals… You don’t miss the «furnitures» for the clothes! I particularly loved the staircase rungs of glass with LED lighting (because you know that I am a lover of the original stairs).

But in this work, there is not doubt that the star intervention is the flashlight that it connects visually the four floors and consists of a steel structure that it twists through combination of its triangular crystals. Inside you can buy the last novelty of H & M and you can scrutinize the windows trying to discover if there are two equal triangles. On the first floor or terrace you can enjoy of 300 square metres of panoramic restaurant. And from the outside you can admire the brilliance of glass that leaves no one indifferent.



To such an extent reaches the beauty and the exquisiteness of «The flashlight» that the supplier of glass, Tvitec, has been awarded with the prize for the glass more representative of 2013 in the use of Isolar products, granted by Isolar Glas, the largest Association of independent manufacturers of glass insulating in Europe.

The Tvitec company has supplied for this work 1,800 square meters of laminate glass and of double glazing. In total, the structure account with extra complexity for the manufacturing, it can be seen with the naked eye, the parts used are of different sizes and of triangular forms (more than 1,500 units), which makes the process of cutting and sorting have characteristics of craftsmanship. The maximum height of the dome is 7,50 meters, although in the original project had 3.00 meters, but the Roman authorities did not allow and I do not know why…

The glass is, without doubt, the material that has most influenced our way of understanding the building during the history of mankind. Thanks to it we can make metal towers or give the light to stone buildings, we can lighten loads and even distribute with elegance. It is a material which isolates us from the outside and, at the same time, it allows us to contemplation of what happens outside the walls. It is translucent or transparent, is deformable, it is paintable. The glass is synonym of edification and comfort.


Laminated glass and double glazing.

Laminated glass is composed of several sheets of glass linked by an intermediate layer created with polyvinyl butyral (PVB) and resins ethyl-vinyl-acetate (EVA). These glasses are used for their high safety due to its greater resistance, to the filtration of UV radiation, its durability and its wonderful acoustic protection.

The double glazing is consists of two glass separated by a chamber of air or argon with the resulting advantages: savings in costs of energy, reduction of the condensation, the sound insulation and the anti-rupture safety.

For any curious like me, to have many crystals in its construction is, rather than a requirement, an obligation. I have to see it all. Good bye.

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