The tusoclano dovetail:



The Tuscolano Dovetail is a residential & mixed use complex for refugees, immigrants and locals in the Roman neighborhood of Tuscolano. 

Programatic context:

The European Union struggles with unrelenting migration from war-torn and other politically charged regions throughout the world. In Italy, the challenges of the European Migrant Crisis are especially evident mostly because of geography. Since Italy is embedded within the Mediterranean Sea, a common migratory threshold into Europe from North Africa and Greece, the Italian Peninsula is constantly tasked with rescuing migrants and providing care. As a result, Italy is at the frontline in one of humanity’s greatest migrations.

While many migrants chose to continue north towards wealthier parts of Europe, essentially using Italy as a transit country, a considerable portion intend to stay within Italy. As a result, the Italian state is tasked with providing housing and additional care for a large in ux of foreign peoples, usually around large urban centers such as Rome. In light of this context, can architecture respond adequately to these migratory waves by providing housing and services to a large in ux of foreigners? Can architecture act as an integration machine without ghe oization? The Tuscolano Dovetail a empts to provide the answer to these and other critical questions at a multitude of scales. 


The German Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale highlighted another EU country’s unique approach to accommodating a large in ux of migrants. Of the many guiding principles established by the Germans at the exhibition, one stood out the most: the understanding that “the success of a neighborhood is determined by the availability of small scale spaces on the ground oor”. In other words, in order to create a healthy and long-lasting neighborhood, a rich ecosystem of public and private interaction needs to be promoted on the lowest level of the massing strategy – on the ground plane. As a result, the massing of the Tuscolano Dovetail naturally snakes across its’ plot in order to maximise bulk closer to grade, avoiding tower typologies which isolate inhabitants. 

Why perimetering?: 

The snaking gesture of the scheme is a perimeter condition that is not only the result of pure logic but is also a reflection of the site’s immediate surroundings. On the urban scale, nearby projects such as Mario De Renzi & Saverio Muratori’s Quartiere Tuscolano II establish the presence of explorations in perimitering just a couple hundred meters away while ancient aquaducts in the park establish the perimeter or edge condition of the site itself. As an organizational strategy, the architectural implementation of perimeters is an effective way of creating thresholds and bounding spaces at a more human scale. By implementing the formal consequences of a perimeter condition at an urban scale, the complex is able to dovetail the existing fabric of the city with the park. The bountiful spaces that result out of this operation are given to the public; a public that is diverse and ever changing. 

The wall: 

A large wall bounds all of the buildings in the Tuscolano Dovetail complex and faces towards the city. It creates a clear delineation between the urban and the park beyond. Cladded in operable bre-cement and basalt panels in order to seem massive, the wall is an inhabitable outdoor space for residents and ground oor tenants. By means of its’ operational components, the wall responds to changing lighting conditions throughout the day and provides additional shelter to users in adverse weather conditions. As a result, the wall is an infrastructural linear space which pays homage to the ancient aqueduct in the adjacent park.  

Completed at: The University of Waterloo, Rome Studio, 4A with Kobi Logendrarajah