The view of the Colosseum from the upper terrace. ©Serena Eller Vainicher
The view of the Colosseum from the upper terrace. ©Serena Eller Vainicher

Colosseum Dreaming in the heart of Rome

In a secluded street in the heart of Rome, Italy, architects Massimo Alvisi and Junko Kirimoto of studio Alvisi Kirimoto, recently completed the house-atelier of an Italian artist on the top two floors of a bijou building between the slopes of Colle Oppio and the Colosseum.

The owner’s request was to change the general image of the apartment and improve its layout, freeing up the view of the Colosseum and keeping the number of rooms unchanged in order to accommodate the many friends who regularly visit her.

The attic and penthouse were characterized by a labyrinthine circulation, that was limited by the absence of an internal staircase, by the continuous height differences and by spaces fragmented by an invasive load-bearing structure, all signs of the architecture of the 1960s.

To make the organization of the spaces more fluid, the architects introduced an entrance hall, with semi-transparent custom-made glass doors.

A new naval-inspired staircase was created from a single block of Wengé wood, lightened by a crystal handrail. It now leads from the dressing room with custom-made wardrobes to the artist’s bedroom, featuring the original fireplace with a marble profile.

A corridor parallel to the side balcony overlooking the Colosseum leads to the dressing table and bathroom, where the powder pink shades evoke the elegance of the 1930s colours.

The opposite wing of the house hosts the studio atelier, which opens onto a second-side balcony and external access to the upper floor. The studio features a custom-designed wall bookcase with a metal structure and Wengé wood veneer, which frames a second original bronze fireplace.

A major structural intervention allowed the total refurbishment of the roof, now in white-painted wooden trusses, in order not to distract attention from the panorama.

Photos by Serena Eller Vainicher