Memory Wall is an exercise of interpretive memory sited on the Porta Portese region of Rome, Italy. Taking from the tradition of spolia, spatial memories of palazzos, villas, churches, piazzas, and apartments that populate the city are cast into rows of great walls erected across the Tiber.
The volumes and experiences of the typologies across the centuries are collaged to recreate the life of the Roman city in the superstructure. This could include pizzas, cafes, apartments, villas, bars, churches, shops, or markets. Each space is connected with mazelike internal pathways or open loggias that meet at a piazza. On the exterior, the typology and program within is expressed through the shape, size, and configuration of the openings of the superstructure’s façade.
Series of footbridges weave the superstructures together, connecting Trastevere and Testaccio, the markets and the scattered “museo diffuso” of warehouse ruins. Where they tread the river, loggias serve as a substrate for a nature park along the river. The park floods with the rise and fall of the water, returning the close connection of the people to the Tiber that was once a critical experience of the Roman life.
The strategy follows suit in the long tradition of marble limbs imbedded in vestibules, of medieval apartments built into the Aurelian Walls, of the secret Passetto within the Vatican Wall. Itself a collage of the city’s memory in the past to the present, Memory Wall is a tabula (but not rasa) for the memories to be collected in the future.